AMES — Korie Lucious has hit a game-winning shot in the NCAA Tournament.
He dropped a career-high 20 points on Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
But all that happened for Michigan State.
The former Spartan found his Cardinal and Gold groove Tuesday, sinking a personal-best five 3-pointers to key Iowa State’s 83-72 victory over scrappy Florida Gulf Coast before 12,692 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
“I was just playing,” said Lucious, who went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc as his team improved to 6-2. “Guys were making shots and I was finding them.”
Lucious flirted with a double-double for the second straight game.
He also notched nine assists in Saturday’s rout of BYU.
“Both times on my 10th assist, Melvin (Ejim) missed a layup,” Lucious said, smiling.
Ejim grinned, too.
“Hopefully he keeps on passing it,” he said.
Ejim posted his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“You always know what Melvin’s going to give you,” Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s going to battle.”
Florida Gulf Coast (6-4) flashed skill and athleticism early, draining five 3-pointers in the first 13 minutes and swooping to a 29-22 lead.
ISU responded swiftly, turning a 15-1 scoring burst fueled by 3-pointers by Tyrus McGee, Lucious and Will Clyburn into a 37-30 edge with 2:30 left.
“Our game plan from the start was to pressure and I think at the beginning of the game we weren’t really doing that,” Lucious said. “We were missing defensive assignments, cut outs on the rebounds and not getting back in transition. We came back and executed that, which led to that run.”
McGee led the Cyclones with nine first-half points and finished with 16.
Lucious added eight while dishing out seven assists in the first 20 minutes.
Still, ISU led just 41-37 at the break.
“I didn’t feel we came out with the right mentality,” Hoiberg said. “We had a nice chat at halftime.”
Lucious remained hot in the second half, drilling two long-range baskets and assisting on another as the Cyclones used a 15-3 run to go ahead 58-46 with 13:27 left.
ISU — which drained 13-of-25 3-pointers — forced 23 turnovers, but also lost 19.
Lucious ended up with five, marking the fourth time this season he’s coughed up that many or more.
“There are still a couple tweaks I need to do to play better,” he said. “My turnovers are still not where I want them to be, so I’ve got a lot of work to do on that.”
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