Cyclones edge Indiana State
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — No. 21 Iowa State kept firing away until some of its shots finally began to drop.
Monte Morris scored 20 points and Matt Thomas shrugged off a cold shooting performance to make a 3-pointer that put his team ahead for good, and the Cyclones held off Indiana State 73-71 in the opening game of the AdvoCare Invitational at Disney World on Thursday.
“We know we can make shots. Just have to adapt to the atmosphere,” Morris said after Iowa State (4-0) remained unbeaten despite shooting 34.2 percent from the field and barely making half its free throws.
“Nobody on the sideline was out of the game. Everyone was engaged,” Morris added. “I think we all stayed together. We always had confidence.”
Thomas was just 2 of 10 from the field. He put the Cyclones ahead with his second 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining. Nazareth Mitrou-Long made one of two free throws with 7.6 seconds left, and Indiana State’s hopes for an upset ended when Brenton Scott’s 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.
“Obviously very disappointed. … We had a chance to be beat an awful good team,” Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said.
“We were right there. Coach drew up a play for us to execute the last second. Unfortunately my shot didn’t go in,” Scott said. “It’s a salty loss. It’s a salty taste. … It’s going to hurt me for a while.”
Iowa State (4-0) advanced to the tournament semifinals, despite going 5 for 15 from the foul line over the final 10 minutes. The Cyclones trailed for most of the first half before using an 11-0 run to wipe out a nine-point deficit.
Morris, who also had nine rebounds, was joined in double figures by Mitrou-Long and Darrell Bowie with 13 apiece. Deonte Burton and Thomas, who missed eight of 10 shots from the field, each finished with 10.
Scott led Indiana State (2-2) with 20 points on 7 of 18 shooting, a pair of long 3-pointers that gave the Sycamores leads in the closing minutes. Laquarious Paige came off the bench to score a career-high 20, and reserve TJ Bell had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
This tournament provides the first real test of the young season for Iowa State, which won its first three games over Savannah State, Mount St. Mary’s and The Citadel by an average of 42 points. The Cyclones start five seniors, but Indiana State is an experienced team, too. The Sycamores hung tough, making a final push after falling behind 54-48, but didn’t have to enough to put the game away when they climbed back on top.
The AdvoCare field features two teams ranked in the Top 25, Iowa State and No. 11 Gonzaga. Three others teams the Cyclones could wind up facing at Disney World — Florida, Seton Hall and Miami — are perched just outside the Top 25 in this week’s Associated Press poll .
SHAKY FROM THE LINE
Iowa State might have been able to put the Sycamores away earlier if not for poor free-throw shooting. The Cyclones went 15 for 29 from the foul line, including just 5 of 15 over the last 9:46.
SCOTT LEADS THE WAY
Scott entered the tournament leading the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring at 22.3 points per game. The junior was 7 of 18 from the field, including 4 of 10 from behind the 3-point line. Paige is a sophomore whose previous career high was 8 points. He had been averaging just 4.7 before Thursday.
The Cyclones will meet either Stanford or Miami in the semifinals of the eight-team tournament on Friday. Indiana State falls into the loser’s bracket, where the Sycamores will face the loser of Thursday’s opening round matchup between Stanford and Miami.