FINAL: No. 17 Iowa State 91, Northern Iowa 82 in Big Four Classic


Photo: Riley Eveleth/Iowa State Daily

ISU sophomore Georges Niang makes a jump shot against Northern Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.  Although Niang fouled out before the game went into overtime, he was 9 of 16 from the field with a career-high 22 points. 

Alex Halsted

DES MOINES — The No. 17 ISU men’s basketball team survived its first in-state rivalry game, beating Northern Iowa 91-82 in overtime Saturday in the Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. 

The Cyclones (7-0) were down by as many as 18 points in the second half to the Panthers (3-5), but snapped the three-game win streak in the series by Northern Iowa. Iowa State outscored Northern Iowa 60-33 to end the game after trailing by 18 points, marking the third-largest comeback in ISU history.

Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang led the Cyclones with 22 points each. Iowa State returns to the court Friday when it takes on Iowa at Hilton Coliseum. 

Turning Point

Iowa State fell behind Northern Iowa 49-31 with 16:46 remaining in the game when ISU coach Fred Hoiberg called a timeout. The Cyclones went on a 23-2 run out of the timeout to take the lead. 

Northern Iowa eventually recaptured the lead and forced overtime when UNI forward Seth Tuttle hit a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation. The run by Iowa State, however, kept the team’s from its first loss of the season.

X Factor

Melvin Ejim — The ISU senior forward scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half for the Cyclones, including four 3-pointers. Ejim hit back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime to help Iowa State secure the comeback victory. 

By the Numbers

22 — Niang scored a career-high 22 points for Iowa State in the win. Saturday was the fifth time this season Niang has scored in double figures.

15 — Niang and Ejim combined to score 15 of Iowa State’s points during the 23-2 run in the second half. The run helped Iowa State erase an 18-point deficit on the way to the victory. 

36 — Iowa State is now 36-12 all-time against Northern Iowa with the win. The victory ended UNI’s streak of three-straight wins against Iowa State.