Cyclones deal Cats early exit

By Joel Jellison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every time Kansas State and Iowa State played this season, it came down to who made plays in the final few minutes.

This one was no different.

(Kansas State senior Shane Southwell shoots over Iowa State’s Dustin Hogue on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo).

Trailing by two with less than a minute to play, Shane Southwell went in transition and lost control of the ball as he entered the paint. Iowa State scored four straight points to put the game away and win 91-85 on Thursday in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals at the Sprint Center.

K-State (20-12) coach Bruce Weber said he hoped Southwell could have found an open man on the play, but it didn’t happen. Just like so many plays didn’t happen for the Wildcats down the stretch, but did for Iowa State.

“He actually had Nigel (Johnson) wide open and that’s what I was seeing and hoping,” Weber said. “We had a couple of tough possessions down the stretch. Wes (Iwundu) went and tried to do something he shouldn’t have. Shane actually had a wild one that went in and then he had one in a half-court possession that wasn’t very good. We needed to be solid and take care of the basketball.”

Southwell, who scored 19 points off the bench, said he saw Johnson on the play and tried to pull up the ball. And that’s when the ball and the game slipped away from him and the Wildcats.

“I had total tunnel vision,” he said. “I’m thinking down two, get to the basket, get a layup or get fouled. I only saw (Georges) Niang and a couple people trailing back for Iowa State. In my mind I’m thinking get to the basket. At the last minute, I heard Nigel yell my name, and then I looked and tried to pass it to him when I brought it around and I lost the ball. I just had tunnel vision.”

Iowa State (23-7) advanced to play Kansas tonight at 6.

K-State trailed by three at halftime after Southwell and Marcus Foster scored five points in the final 13 seconds to cut into an eight-point Iowa State lead. After Southwell made a layup, Thomas Gipson stole the ball from Cyclone point guard DeAndre Kane and dished it up to Jevon Thomas, who found Foster open for a 3-pointer with four seconds left.

The Wildcats cut the lead to two points with 17:24 left in the second half, and then, with Foster on the bench in foul trouble, took the lead at 60-59 on an Omari Lawrence free throw with 12:01 to play.

K-State led by as many as three before the Cyclones took the lead on a 3-pointer from Melvin Ejim to go up two. The teams played to a tie at 78 before Iowa State outscored the Wildcats 13-7 the rest of the way.

Iowa State led 87-82 with 1:12 to play before Foster made a 3 with one minute left. Naz Long scored the final two baskets for the Cyclones.

Foster finished with a team-high 21 points, while Johnson had 17 and Gipson added 13. It was the first time this season K-State lost with four players in double figures. The Wildcats’ bench outscored the Cyclones’ 41-14.

(Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster goes to the bench with his fourth foul against Iowa State on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo).

Iowa State, meanwhile, had five in double figures. Ejim had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Dustin Hogue added 19 points and 10 boards. Niang scored 18, Long had 14 and Kane had 11.

“We just didn’t get enough stops,” Weber said. “You can’t let them shoot 60 percent in the second half. First half, when they did miss, they pounded us on the boards. We just had some bad possessions down the stretch. Other than that, I thought we played really good basketball against a really tough team to guard.”

Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said Hogue’s game was big for the Cyclones. Hogue came in averaging 10.4 points per game.

“Dustin Hogue, I thought, did everything today,” he said. “He’s always been a guy that’s done the dirty work for this team, all throughout the year. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, not only on the defensive end and rebounding, which he always does, but he made some huge plays for us on offense.”

K-State was hurt by offensive rebounds, allowing Iowa State to pull down 15. The Cyclones also scored 11 second-chance points and had 46 points in the paint.

“We want to push the tempo when we get stops,” K-State guard Will Spradling said. “But it’s hard when you don’t get rebounds.”

The loss knocked the Wildcats out of the Big 12 Championship tournament, and sent them back to Manhattan waiting to see where they’ll end up on Sunday in the NCAA Selection Show. A win could have increased K-State’s seed, but now its destiny is in the hands of the selection committee.

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