AMES — Iowa State point guard Korie Lucious called the meeting to order.
The setting: His hotel room, Friday night.
The attendees: Fellow Cyclone players.
The mission: Clear the air after an unexpected loss Wednesday at Texas Tech.
“If we came back and bounced back, we knew that game would be forgotten,” Lucious said after helping ISU to a map-making 73-67 Big 12 win Saturday over No. 11 Kansas State. “It would still be in the back of our heads, but if we went and beat the No. 11 team in the country — that’s good for us.”
Better than that.
A sellout crowd of 14,376 streamed into Hilton Coliseum and watched ISU use an 8-0 second-half run to go ahead 63-56 with 5:28 left.
The Cyclones (14-5, 4-2) would not trail again — but the Wildcats (15-4, 4-2) kept the tension tautly twisted.
“We were trading blows,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg, whose team shot 46 percent from the line and still notched its third straight home win over a ranked foe. “That was a really exciting, fun basketball game, I think, if you like offense.”
Kansas State shot 64 percent from the field in the second half.
The Cyclones — led by Will Clyburn’s 24 points and 10 rebounds — sank 50 percent (11-of-22) from 3-point range against the nation’s seventh-most stringent long-distance defense.
“When we play as a family and share the ball, we’re really good,” said Clyburn, who grabbed a game-high five offensive rebounds.
Clyburn’s biggest board came inside of three minutes.
ISU clung to a 65-62 lead.
He soared over two defenders to corral a Melvin Ejim miss and eventually Lucious fed Georges Niang for a 3-pointer.
“(That) was huge,” Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said.
Clyburn shined in several key moments, including one strange scenario out of many that helped cap that 8-0 splurge.
K-State point guard Angel Rodriquez tried to save an errant pass off Clyburn’s foot, but the ball whirled to a standstill, just in bounds.
“I don’t know how that ball didn’t go out of bounds,” Clyburn said.
“That thing just kind of spun like a bowling ball with a little bit of english on it, Will gets it, throws it to Korie and gets Melvin a big dunk,” said Hoiberg, whose team extended its overall home winning streak to 18 games. “That’s a big momentum changer.”
Game over, essentially — despite a clock snafu in the closing seconds with the Cyclones up two possessions.
“The crowd just erupted,” Hoiberg said. “Hilton was awesome. Every seat in the house was packed and it’s great to see that atmosphere to come home to after a disappointing loss — to know your fans still have your back.”
So did Lucious, who doled out seven second-half assists and hit both his free throws — a rarity for either team.
That must have been some private-turned-public meeting.
“He called us out,” Niang said.
And built them back up.
“I think it was a great talk,” Lucious said. “And we got a lot accomplished out of it.”
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