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Iowa State falls to Virginia Tech in second round of ESPN Events Invitational, 71-62.

The Cyclones will play Texas A&M on Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: ESPN Events Invitational Semifinal-Iowa State at Virginia Tech Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Following a comeback win versus VCU in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational, the Cyclones took on a sharpshooting Virginia Tech team in the second round.

The first-half scoring was much better tonight than it was to begin the VCU game, as Milan Momcilovic turned in 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The first 12-ish minutes of the game was a back-and-forth contest, with neither team taking a lead over three points.

However, hot outside shooting from Virginia Tech propelled them to a 10-point lead going into the break. The Hokies shot 8-of-18 from three in the first half, including 3-of-5 from Hunter Cattoor, who is VT’s all-time leading three-point shooter. At the same time, Iowa State struggled to find buckets, similar to the scoring droughts we’ve seen from the Cyclones over the past few seasons.

First Half ISU Stats

The second half began with poor shooting by both teams, but the biggest struggle was Iowa State at the free throw line, going 2-of-7 from the line the first five minutes of the half. The free throw issues were significant in the VCU game as well, so this will be something to monitor going forward.

The Milan Momcilovic Show continued in the second half, burying a couple of threes to bring the Cyclones within two possessions. By the 8-minute mark, the Hokie lead was down to four points. The Cyclones also got some really strong minutes from Jackson Paveletske.

Down the stretch, poor free throw shooting and some well-timed Virginia Tech three pointers kept the Cyclones at arm’s length and stymied the comeback bid. The aforementioned Momcilovic was the definite bright spot, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Bob Jones wasn’t a big stat sheet stuffer, but his ability to play good defense on the perimeter has become a real asset to lean on going forward.

Iowa State will take on #12 Texas A&M on Sunday in the third place game for the tournament at 5 PM.