Iowa State blows lead, then hangs on against Texas Tech

15-point halftime lead disappears, but Cyclones hang on

Published: January 4 2014 | 6:47 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:38 am in

LUBBOCK, Texas -- It took some grinding, but the Iowa State Cyclones stayed undefeated.

The Cyclones saw their 15-point halftime lead over Texas Tech completely evaporate, but Monte Morris made a three-point play right when Iowa State needed it and the Red Raiders never took the lead.

Iowa State won its 13th straight game, 73-62, on Saturday at the United Spirit Arena.

"I will say one of the hardest things to do in sports is to stop a momentum run, and we found a way to do it and reverse it and finish out the game," coach Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State said.

"We allowed them an opportunity to get in the game. Texas Tech turned into the aggressive team that we had controlled for the first 20 minutes."

Melvin Ejim followed Morris' three-point play with a 3-pointer and Naz Long made a layup to help 13th-ranked Iowa State respond to Texas Tech's run with an 8-0 surge.

Iowa State (13-0, 1-0 in the Big 12) avenged a 56-51 loss at Texas Tech last season.

George Niang led Iowa State with 17 points, Ejim had 16 points and DeAndre Kane added 15. Morris came off the bench to score 11.

Jay Crocket scored a game-high 20 and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Texas Tech.

Texas Tech erased a 15-point halftime deficit with a run ignited by Jordan Tolbert's 3-pointer to start the scoring in the second half for the Red Raiders.

Jay Crockett led Texas Tech with 10 points during a 21-6 surge that helped the Red Raiders (8-6, 0-1) tie the game, 50-50.

"We let some things bother us tonight we had not been doing," said Hoiberg, who though the Cyclones became a little flustered. "We missed a couple of easy ones and I thought our body language changed a little bit.

"But we found a way and I give my bench a lot of credit to get those guys to get back in it and find a way finish."

Iowa State finished the first half on a 15-5 run, capped by Matt Thomas' 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Niang and Kane each contributed four points to the surge that helped the Cyclones lead, 44-29, at halftime.

Niang finished the first half with 11 points and four assists, as he keyed the Iowa State offense in being a step quicker than Texas Tech's defense.

Iowa State shot 51.9 percent from the field in the first half, including four 3-pointers. Thomas hit two from beyond the arc, and Niang and Ejim each added one.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech showed why it has been a perennial bottom-dweller for several seasons in the Big 12. The Red Raiders committed eight turnovers and none of the Red Raider starters scored more than six points in the first 20 minutes.

Dusty Hannahs came off the bench to lead Texas Tech with eight points in the first half and finished with 16.

"We feel like we can play with anybody, but just little errors is the fine line between winning and you can't make the mistakes," Hannahs said.

"We've gotten a lot better at toning down our mistakes and turnovers but we've still got room for improvement."

But Tolbert, Texas Tech's second-leading scorer, had only four points in the first half, missed two free throws and was way off the mark on a 3-pointer.

NOTES: Iowa State entered Big 12 play with an undefeated record for the first time since the conference began play in the 1996-97 season. It was the first time the Cyclones started conference play with an unblemished record since the 1956-57 season. ... Iowa State needed a win over Texas Tech to tie a school record with its 13th consecutive victory. The record of 13 straight was set by the 1999-2000 Cyclones. ... Texas Tech began conference play with a new head coach for the third consecutive season. Tubby Smith took over the program before the beginning of this season, replacing interim coach Chris Walker, who replaced Billy Gillespie after Gillespie's only season in 2011-12.

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