Cy-Hawk game lives up to the hype as Iowa State steals late win against Iowa

Senior guard DeAndre Kane scrambles for a loose ball during Iowa State’s 85-82 win over Iowa Dec. 13, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum. Kane had five points and nine assists on the night.

Alex Halsted

The in-bounds play was doomed as each precious second ticked off the clock, the moment frozen in time with thousands anxiously looking on.

Georges Niang didn’t hesitate.

The ISU sophomore forward calmly tossed the ball underhand to point guard DeAndre Kane, who took one dribble and quickly returned it. Niang drove the baseline on Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff and went up-and-under for a reverse layup with 18.8 seconds remaining.

The sold out Hilton Coliseum crowd erupted as Niang’s layup fell through the net, pushing No. 17 Iowa State (8-0) ahead of No. 23 Iowa (10-2) by one. The Cyclones would eventually hold on for an 85-82 victory in one of the most-anticipated Cy-Hawk matchups in the series’ 67-game history.

“I think the game lived up to the hype every little bit,” said Niang, who scored a team-high 24 points in the win. “It was a lot of fun playing in this and I think the rivalry is back. Both teams are great teams for the state of Iowa.

“But at the end of the day, we all know it’s a Cyclone state.”

That newfound title didn’t come without tension.

Iowa’s Mike Gesell missed two free throws following Niang’s layup, the second miss falling in the hands of ISU forward Dustin Houge.

The crowd erupted, and Hilton Coliseum shook.

“That rivaled (the loudest) out there when Gesell missed that first one,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “You could feel the vibrations in the building again. I give the credit of this game to our fans. No way in heck we win this game without them.”

Hogue, who picked up his third-straight double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds, was subsequently fouled and made both free throws to put Iowa State up three with 12 seconds remaining.

That’s when Iowa forward Zach McCabe — a 48 percent 3-point shooter entering the game — released a potential game-tying 3 from the left wing with five seconds to play and ISU forward Melvin Ejim rushing out to avert another late-game 3-point debacle for the Cyclones.

“I don’t want to tell you what’s going through my mind,” Hoiberg said, adding that his team had been instructed to foul McCabe. “I’m still shaking a little bit because I just expected that thing to go in.

“The fans were loud, the rim was maybe shaking a little bit and it bounced out.”

Fans rushed onto the court, the game an instant classic.

“It wasn’t like we drew it up,” said Ejim, who scored 22 points to go with seven rebounds. “I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I had to run out there and contest and luckily he missed and we were able to not allow them to score.

“It was a lucky moment, but that’s what it takes to win sometimes.”

Iowa State was out-rebounded 49-35 by Iowa and went 23-of-36 from the free throw line. In the back-and-forth final minutes, the Cyclones, who led for only 2 minutes, 53 seconds, finished.

The Cyclones ended the game on an 8-0 run in the final 1:29 and made their last six free throws, including the two from Hogue that helped seal the win.

“I honestly have no idea how we won that game,” Hoiberg said. “I look at the box score and they crushed us on the glass and they beat us in transition. Those were the two biggest keys I felt we had to have, to have the upper hand.”

Iowa State found a way to win, anyway, and the second-ever Cy-Hawk battle with both teams pitted as ranked opponents, didn’t disappoint.

“I’m proud of our guys, I know Fred is proud of his guys,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “The kids just kept fighting, and that’s what college basketball is. The atmosphere was phenomenal.”