Cyclones dig deep to win Big 12 opener
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
AMES — After fiddling with his rotation for weeks, Iowa State coach Steve Prohm went to an unconventional lineup to help pull the Cyclones out of a funk.
Naz Mitrou-Long scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and Iowa State rallied from 14 down to beat Texas Tech 63-56 Friday.
Monte Morris had 14 points with six assists for the Cyclones (9-3, 1-0 Big 12), who recovered from an ugly start to beat the Red Raiders at home for the sixth time in a row.
After looking sluggish for well over a half, Iowa State went to a four-guard lineup and ripped off 16 straight points — and a Mitrou-Long 3 gave the Cyclones their first lead, 55-52, with 4:29 left.
“We were the tougher team for the last 10 minutes,” Prohm said. “I was going by my gut about what needed to happen.”
Texas Tech (11-2, 0-1) out-rebounded the smaller Cyclones 42-27. But the Red Raiders went scoreless for 7 ¢ minutes down the stretch, allowing Mitrou-Long and Iowa State to overtake them behind a crowd that went from irritated to raucous in short order.
“We got kind of stagnant and started standing around and also put ourselves in position to turn the ball over” said Texas Tech’s Keenan Evans, who led the team with 15 points.
Anthony Livingston scored 13 and Zach Smith had 14 rebounds for the Red Raiders, who were outscored by 17 points in the second half and committed 15 turnovers.
“It was a real challenge for us. It spaced us out defensively,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence and belief in our players. We’ve got good players. It just wasn’t our night.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders sailed through their first Big 12 test — for 30 minutes. After playing one of the nation’s easier non-conference schedules, Texas Tech got up big before completely down crumbling the stretch. The Big 12 will know a lot more about the Red Raiders after its next two games against No. 11 West Virginia and No. 3 Kansas. But they’ll be 0-3 in the league unless they learn how to put together a complete game.
Iowa State: It wasn’t a coincidence that Iowa State’s offense opened up once Deonte Burton went to the bench. Burton was just 2 of 11 shooting, and the Cyclones found their groove once they went small and moved the ball. Iowa State was also solid at the line, shooting 15 of 18.
NOT SO YOUNG ANYMORE
The lone big man in Iowa State’s four-guard lineup was freshman Solomon Young. He didn’t score in 16 minutes, but his frontcourt presence was crucial during the Cyclones’ definitive run. Young might see a lot more playing time in the future as a classic big man whenever the Cyclones go small again.
The loss snapped Tech’s eight-game winning streak. …Iowa State senior guard Matt Thomas sat out most of the second half because of an unspecified foot injury he suffered two weeks ago. …Friday’s game marked the eighth time in six years that the Cyclones won after trailing by at least 14. They made the NCAA Tournament in each of those years. …Texas Tech was outscored 30-22 in the paint despite its size advantage.
HE SAID IT
“I think Tom Izzo said it best the other night. Who’s producing? We need to play people that produce,” Prohm said about his unique lineup down the stretch. Burton, a starter, played just three minutes in the second half.
Texas Tech will open its Big 12 home schedule against the Mountaineers.
Iowa State will travel to fourth-ranked Baylor on Wednesday. The Cyclones will be decisive underdogs, although they were within a missed 3 of beating No. 7 Gonzaga earlier this season.