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AMES — While Iowa State’s stars shined, Texas coach Rick Barnes shook his head.
“I actually started laughing a couple times,” Barnes said of his No. 17 team’s turnover-fueled, first-half follies against the 19th-ranked Cyclones. “Are you kidding me? Could it get any worse? And it did.”
Barnes’ unhappy chuckles cropped up early and late Tuesday — thanks to ISU’s trio of Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang combining for 67 points in the Cyclones’ Big 12 race-tightening 85-76 win witnessed by 14,384 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
All three shot better than 50 percent from the field as ISU (20-5, 8-5) drew into a third-place tie with Oklahoma in the conference standings.
“I just wanted to be aggressive,” said Ejim, who led the Cyclones with 25 points and helped fuel a decisive 11-2 late second-half run. “I thought that the last few games I hadn’t been as aggressive. I wasn’t playing as well as I know I could.”
But it’s hard — if not impossible — for Ejim to live up to the 48-point, 18-rebound performance he unleashed on TCU three games ago.
Tuesday the senior settled for disrupting the Longhorns’ long-standing dominance on the boards, grabbing two of his three offensive rebounds early in the first half.
“After they got a couple, I took it upon myself to grab some,” Ejim said.
Try four — on the first possession of the game.
“They were playing volleyball on that first possession,” said ISU Coach Fred Hoiberg, whose team won for the fourth time in the past five games.
They didn’t finish, though.
That was a recurring theme for Texas (20-6, 9-4), which erased a nine-point halftime deficit in the first six minutes of the second half but shot just 33 percent and was outscored 40-18 in the paint despite owning a 44-35 rebounding advantage.
“I think we did a good job of playing some defense,” said Niang, who did better than good on Longhorns’ big man Cameron Ridley.
Niang, at 6-7, held the hulking 6-9 post player to 0-for-5 field goal shooting and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
“He was a non-factor,” Barnes said of Ridley.
And that’s saying something.
Ridley scored 16 points, collected 11 rebounds and blocked five shots in an 86-76 win over the Cyclones last month in Austin.
“It’s a tough grueling game when you’ve got to go up against (him),” Niang said. “That’s like a sumo wrestling match.”
The game played out like one, with the Longhorns tying the score 48-48 on Isaiah Taylor’s layup that capped a 10-3 spurt.
It remained tense until Kane’s layup, coupled with baskets from Dustin Hogue helped push ISU’s lead to double digits with 5:33 left.
Hogue finished with nine points and seven rebounds and point guard Monte Morris added six assists to no turnovers to augment the strong output from Ejim, Kane and Niang.
“One thing about these guys is they’ll sacrifice anything to win,” Niang said. “So if it’s Monte giving up the ball, if it’s Dustin grabbing extra rebounds, they’re just going to do it.”
No one’s laughing about that — ironically or otherwise.
“Our guys made very unselfish plays for the most part,” Hoiberg said.
AMES — Iowa State isn’t a great men’s college basketball team. Few of those are around.
But ISU is very good a lot of days, very entertaining almost every game, and is 20-5.
Anybody who asked for more than that last November is too greedy or silly for the well-being of our planet.
The atmosphere in Hilton Coliseum Tuesday night was peppy, as is so often the case here. But it didn’t have the big pregame buzz and really big roars that were heard when Michigan, Iowa and Kansas passed through earlier this season.
A 6 p.m. weeknight tip time helps keep a madhouse from being insanely loud, but the Cyclones’ 85-76 victory over Texas got the roars it deserved as the game grew older. This was a fellow Top 20 team ISU beat, a really talented Longhorns squad that had won eight of its last nine games and still stands alone in second place in the Big 12.
This was another win that will resonate with the NCAA tournament’s selection committee, another national-television performance that left a favorable impression. And, there were enough Cyclone highlights to justify the cable sports wrap-up shows spending time lingering over the game.
This was Iowa State’s three best players — Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang — scoring 25, 22 and 20 points, respectively. How often do you see three players on the same college team score 20 in a game that doesn’t go six overtimes?
Does ISU have the kind of team that translates into NCAA tournament success? The safe answer is always to say it depends on matchups. The more wins the Cyclones get, obviously, the better their seed and early matchups.
Would you want to be the team that draws Iowa State in the tourney’s first week, with the Cyclones’ multiple scorers and inside/outside game that can rack up a lot of points in short periods of time?
The Cyclones tallied 23 in 6 1/2 minutes to turn a 56-55 lead into a commanding 79-67 advantage. A Matt Thomas 3-pointer in transition, a hustling putback by Ejim that seemed to come out of nowhere, Kane knifing for a score 24 seconds after he sank a three, a fabulous tip-in by Niang — it was a full blitz that ordinary teams can’t create.
Iowa is the only state with both a Big 12 and Big Ten team, so it’s natural that opinions would vary here about which league has the best basketball in America. You can make solid arguments for both, but Cyclones Coach Fred Hoiberg had a good debate point when he said “You look at teams picked first and third in our league and they’re sitting down there at, I think, 8 and 9 right now. That shows you the depth of this league.”
In October, Big 12 coaches picked Oklahoma State and Kansas to tie for first and Baylor to finish directly ahead of Iowa State for third. Baylor is 5-8 and tied for seventh. Oklahoma State, the preseason No. 8 team in the nation, is ninth in its conference. Both could still end up in the NCAAs.
The Big Ten’s eighth- and ninth-place teams are Purdue and Northwestern.
“I think (the Big 12) is all that,” Hoiberg said. “Just having to play these teams, every one of them twice. Everyone plays the same schedule.
“Texas was a team that wasn’t predicted to do well and here they’re sitting at 20-6 and 9-4 in an extremely difficult conference. So I think top to bottom, it’s the best, I really do. I believe that.”
A month ago, Texas beat ISU in Austin, 86-76. In Ames, it was ISU 85-76. They and three or four or maybe even five more Big 12 teams will go forth into the NCAA field next month.
No one can say they won’t have been tested.
AT LANCER LANES
Teams — 1. C.R. Jefferson 2,744*, 2. C.R. Prairie 2,729, 3. C.R. Washington 2,698, 4. Linn-Mar 2,620, 5. C.R. Kennedy 2,413
Teams — 1. Muscatine 3,294*, 2. Clinton 2,693, 3. Iowa City West 2,580, 4. Iowa City High 2,363, 5. Burlington 1,793
* — team state qualifier
t12. Brooke McMorran (Linn-Mar), 421; t14. Savannah Fowler (C.R. Jefferson), 420; t16. Amber Westemeier (C.R. Prairie), 419
Teams — 1. North Scott 2,868*, 2. DeWitt Central 2,787*, 3. Camanche 2,753*
Teams — 1. Keokuk 2,795*
Teams — 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 2,480*
Teams — 1. Western Dubuque 2,701*
t2. Shelby Carier (DeWitt Central), 447; 6. Kayla Horsfield (Western Dubuque), 414; 8. Veronica Weigandt (DeWitt Central), 409; 11. Jessica Londberg (Washington, Iowa), 403; t14. Bre Smith (Marion), 391; t14. Alyssa Bunge (Vinton-Shellsburg), 391
AT LANCER LANES
Teams — 1. C.R. Jefferson 3,294*, 2. Linn-Mar 3,175*, 3. C.R. Washington 2,952, 4. C.R. Kennedy 2,936, 5. C.R. Prairie 2,928
Teams — 1. Clinton 3,374*, 2. Iowa City West 3,081, 3. Muscatine 3,075, 4. Iowa City High 2,930, 5. Burlington 2,375.
* — team state qualifier
4. Connor Pickering (Linn-Mar), 492; t10. Kyle Kaness (C.R. Washington), 481; 13. Kolby Melsha (Iowa City High), 474; 14. Austin Kluth (C.R. Jefferson), 472.
Teams — 1. Maquoketa 3,136*, 2. North Scott 3,097*
Teams — 1. Mount Pleasant 3,201*, 2. Louisa-Muscatine 3,052*
Teams — 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 2,987*
Teams — 1. Western Dubuque 3,065*
* — team state qualifier
t1. Dylan Werner (West Delaware), 491; 4. Caleb Miller (C.R. Xavier), 482; 5. Luke Quinlan (Maquoketa), 481; 9. Karson Smith (DeWitt Central), 459
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia — Former Olympic and world champion sprinter Lauryn Williams showed why she was selected to push the USA-1 sled after just six months in the sport when she propelled Elana Meyers to the halfway lead in women’s bobsled Tuesday.
Meyers and Williams, 30, helped by two track record starts, eked out a lead of 0.23 seconds over Canada’s 2010 champions Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse.
The USA-2 sled of Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans sit in bronze medal position before the final two runs today.
“The nerves definitely overtook me. All day long I’ve been nervous, well before we got here,” said the diminutive Williams, who was lured to bobsled by fellow crossover track recruit Lolo Jones, an Iowa native and world-class hurdler who also made her Olympic debut in the USA-3 sled.
“When I got on that line, I knew something good was going to happen because I was jumping out of my skin and that’s a feeling I hadn’t had for a while in track and field, knowing what that feeling means, it means going fast.
“I didn’t notice the rain at all. It could have been raining, snowing, sunshine, it wouldn’t have mattered, I just would have been running behind E (Elana) trying to get that sled away.”
Brakeman Jones and driver Jazmine Fenlator could not match their compatriots’ speed and sit 11th and out of medal contention, although TV commentary indicated Jones gave the sled good speed at the top with her initial pushes.
“I’m just going to take it day by day, for sure,” Jones told the Associated Press.
Williams, who won the world 100-meter title in 2005, Olympic 100 silver at the 2004 Olympics and 400 relay gold at the 2012 London Games, quit track in June. She is poised to become only the second athlete to win Winter and Summer Olympic gold after Edward Eagan of the U.S. who took gold in boxing at the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games and finished first in bobsled at the Lake Placid 1932 Winter Games.
AMES, Iowa — Three Iowa State players scored at least 20 points Tuesday, fueling the 17th-ranked Cyclones to an 85-76 win over No. 19 Texas.
Iowa State ran away with the game in the final minutes by turning to forward Melvin Ejim, guard DeAndre Kane and forward Georges Niang. Ejim scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Kane contributed 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Niang added 20 points and five assists.
The Cyclones (20-5, 8-5 Big 12) earned their seventh win over a ranked opponent and their fifth victory in six games overall.
Texas erased a 10-point, second-half deficit due in part to two 3-pointers from Javan Felix. The sophomore guard started the game 2-for-12 from the floor, but he helped the Longhorns tie the score at 48 with 14 minutes left. Felix, whose average of 12.7 points ranks second on the team, finished with 16 points on 6-of-22 shooting.
A game that started out with both teams trading missed shots and empty offensive possessions turned into a shootout midway through the second half.
The teams traded five 3-pointers in the span of about two minutes, but the Longhorns struggled to match the Cyclones point for point. Iowa State built a 12-point advantage by getting the ball into the paint and getting to the free-throw line. The Cyclones also held the Longhorns to one field goal in a 7 1/2-minute stretch while extending the lead to double digits.
Despite a poor shooting night from the floor, Texas stayed in the game with its foul shooting and offensive rebounding. The Longhorns made 23 of 25 free throws, and they grabbed 20 offensive rebounds while shooting 32.9 percent from the field.
Guard Isaiah Taylor led the Longhorns (20-6, 9-4) with 26 points and eight assists. He added seven rebounds.
Texas beat Iowa State 86-76 in January by taking advantage of its size inside. Longhorn forwards Cameron Ridley and Jonathan Holmes combined for 39 points and 18 rebounds in the contest. They only combined for 18 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday.
Iowa State used its defense to build a 36-27 halftime, closing the half on a 12-4 run. The Cyclones held the Longhorns to one field goal in the final six minutes of the half.
Both teams struggled from the floor early, as they combined to miss 23 of their first 32 shots. The Cyclones subsequently rode their transition game to a 5-0 run midway through the half, taking a 24-18 lead.
Thanks to the quickened pace in the final 10 minutes the Cyclones, shot 47.1 percent in the half. Guard Monte Morris found Ejim for two alley-oops, and Ejim led Iowa State with 14 first-half points.
Texas never found its shooting stroke in the first half. The Longhorns shot 27.0 percent but controlled the offensive glass. They secured 11 offensive rebounds before the break and relied on second-chance points for buckets. Taylor led the Longhorns with eight first-half points.
NOTES: Iowa State G DeAndre Kane was selected one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award this week. The award is given annually to the nation’s top point guard. … The Longhorns have 20 victories, the 14th time in 16 seasons coach Rich Barnes hit the 20-win mark at Texas. … Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg passed Tim Floyd for the second-most wins by a Cyclones coach in his first four years with 82. Larry Eustachy is first with 84 victories.
A new nonpartisan analysis says boosting the country’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of roughly 500,000 jobs, even as it lifts hundreds of thousands of Americans out of poverty by the time it’s fully implemented.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a chief backer of the increase, disputed the idea that jobs would be lost. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats sought to highlight the parts of the report that buttressed their arguments.
The Congressional Budget Office report said the lost jobs would come as a result of raising the cost of employment. And although it acknowledged the increased demand that would follow a higher minimum wage would also create employment, on net it wouldn’t be enough to offset the losses.
The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. In some states, including Illinois, it is higher, at $8.25 per hour.
A loss of 500,000 jobs in the American economy would represent 0.3 percent of total employment, the budget office said. But the prediction also comes at a time of uneven job growth.
The report also said that 16.5 million Americans would get a raise as a result of a higher minimum wage and that 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty by it by 2016, or about 2 percent of the people below the threshold.
Harkin’s office praised that part of the report but said the budget office study was an “outlier” when it came to its employment projections. He pointed to a review of 64 minimum wage studies published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations in 2009 that said minimum wages didn’t cause job losses.
“Since the first minimum wage was enacted more than 75 years ago, opponents have argued that a wage floor would cause job loss,” Harkin said Tuesday. “But this is a myth.”
Republicans said the projected job losses come at a time when Americans are worried about the economy.
Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, who is running for the U.S. Senate, responded to the report in an email, saying, “government and government-mandated wage increases are not the solution — especially when doing so comes at the expense of the jobs of hard working Americans.”
Alissa Ohl, a spokeswoman for Republican Mark Jacobs, also responded in an email: “Like Senator Grassley, Mark thinks that’s something we can look at but, as Mark has said from day one, the real problem in America is a lack of good jobs.”
Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for the Senate this fall, has, like Harkin, pushed for the increase.
Drew Pusateri, a spokesman, said, “Bruce believes that Iowans who go out and work tough jobs shouldn’t come home and find their families living in poverty — and this report shows that’s the reality for far too many Americans.”
He said 340,000 Iowans would get a raise from the proposal.
ESPN had cameras rolling in Assembly Hall when a metal plate fell from the ceiling this afternoon. Iowa’s game in the building, scheduled for tonight, has been postponed and no new date for the game has been announced.