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Iowa State Fades Late in Heartbreaker at No. 2 Baylor

Late-game execution dooms ISU again, lose 65-63

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Baylor (14-0) remained one of two unbeatens in college basketball, defeating Iowa State (9-4) 65-63 in another Big 12 thriller. Manu Lecomte hit a contested floater with 8.6 seconds left in the game to take the lead for the Bears. After a stoppage of play to check the clock, Monte Morris drove right for a decent look that bounced off the front of the rim. Jonathan Motley recorded a double-double for the Bears with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Naz Mitrou-Long led Iowa State with 17 points.

Baylor looked strong from the start, jumping out to an 11-3 lead using its huge height advantage inside. Iowa State would hang around, relying on 3-pointers to keep Baylor within reach. The Cyclones got hot late in the half, eventually hitting 8-of-15 threes to take the lead 36-34. Baylor’s Jake Lindsey answered with a three of his own to give Baylor a one-point lead heading into the break.

Iowa State cranked up the defensive intensity to start the second half, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition. Baylor gave up 21 points on 13 turnovers. The Bears’ sloppy play helped Iowa State take a second half lead despite getting bludgeoned on the boards, 47-28.

Deonte Burton struggled for the majority of the game, including one possession when he missed three straight shots, including two close to the basket. But the unpredictable Burton responded with a 3-pointer, a nice defensive play and a drive to the hoop for two. After a Morris mid-range jumper, Iowa State increased its lead to six with just five minutes to play.

Baylor quickly closed the gap behind easy buckets inside and tough play down the stretch from backup point guard, Lindsey, who tied the game with three minutes left. After trading missed shots, Morris drove left before putting up a wild floater on the left baseline. It missed badly and Baylor would get their chance. Lecomte put up an almost identical shot to Morris’, but Lecomte’s rainbow would fall through.

The Cyclones appeared to be confused on their last play as Burton and Mitrou-Long both motioned to each other before Morris tried to take the game into his own hands. His shot hit short at the buzzer, and the Bears survived the upset bid.

Quick Analysis

First things first, Iowa State played very good basketball against a team it does not match up with well at all. The Cyclones clogged the lane and forced the Bears to take plenty of contested shots late in the shot clock. Unfortunately, many of those shots were rebounded by Baylor’s front line, but I can live with that. We knew what type of game it would be coming in.

Once again Iowa State didn’t execute in late-game situations. Mitrou-Long took a long three, Morris took a wild shot on the base line and Burton and Mitrou-Long appeared to be confused on the last play. I hate to say it, but Hoiberg’s teams executed these plays at a much higher clip. Let’s take a look at how the play transpired against Baylor and how it was executed at Oklahoma State in 2014.

Now let’s look at the same play in 2014.

Against Baylor, there’s no down screen to free Mitrou-Long, although they get the ball to him OK. On the handoff, Morris doesn’t get a screen from Burton so that Morris can get deep enough to create the right spacing. Burton should be much lower after setting the initial screen to free Mitrou-Long. This gives Burton a better angle to set another screen for Mitrou-Long for the open three. Instead of setting three screens as Ejim does against OSU, Burton sets one. Morris and Mitrou-Long don’t get the correct spacing, and Morris is forced to abandon the play. This was a botched Hoiberg set from the start with Burton trailing the play.

Anyways...Iowa State’s 4-guard lineup was effective again as the Cyclones used Morris, Mitrou-Long, Weiler-Babb, Thomas and freshman post Solomon Young to come back in the first half. I’d expect to see this lineup get more action as it’s been the Cyclones most consistent the last two games.

Next Up: vs. Texas, Saturday 8:15 CT at Hilton Coliseum (ESPN2)