Cyclones cruise past defending national champs 77-64

Jeremiah Davis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The ISU men aren’t done yet. With a 77-64 win against Connecticut on Thursday night, the Cyclones advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

The Lowdown

Iowa State ended the defending national champions’ run in the tournament Thursday night on the strength of performances from the Cyclones’ seniors, Chris Allen and Scott Christopherson, as well as Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-Big 12 forward Royce White. The trio combined for 50 points.

The Cyclones got off to a fast start in their opening-round game, jumping out to a 38-16 lead with 7:03 remaining in the first half. But a pair of fouls for guard Chris Babb — who was responsible for stopping the Huskies’ best player, Jeremy Lamb — landed the junior on the bench.

The result was a 12-0 UConn run and a 42-32 lead for Iowa State at halftime.

In the second stanza, the Cyclones weathered another Husky run — UConn was within six at 58-52 midway through the second half — and closed out the 2011 national champs at the free-throw line. 

Iowa State was led statistically by Allen, who had 20 points and three rebounds. He was followed by White, who ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Christopherson, who had 15 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range.

The Cyclones move on to face No. 1 overall seed Kentucky following the Marquette-Murray State game, which tips off at approximately 6:45 p.m. Central time.

The X-factor

Senior guard Chris Allen

Allen, who came into the NCAA tournament with 14 career tournament games played — the most in the field — finished with the scoring lead for the Cyclones at 20 points, as well as grabbing three rebounds and dishing out two assists. 

An and-one basket midway through the second half ended a brief push by UConn, which had shrunk the ISU lead to 58-52. Then, late in the game, Allen iced the game from the free-throw line, where the senior went 5-for-5.

By the numbers

6: points scored by UConn guard Jeremy Lamb while being guarded by Chris Babb. The sophomore ended the game with 19 points, but only made one field goal and four free throws while Babb was on the floor.

12: offensive rebounds for the Cyclones, half as many as the Huskies’ total of 24.

15: points for White and Christopherson, who finished first and second on the team in scoring this season, White finishing at 13.1 points per game, Christopherson at 12.5.

15: games Chris Allen has now played in the NCAA tournament, more than anyone in the field

17: rebounding margin in favor of Iowa State. The Cyclones had 41 total rebounds on the night, 29 on the defensive glass to go with the aforementioned 12 on the offensive glass.

20: points for Allen. That tied his career-high in an NCAA tournament game, which he previously achieved in a 2008 matchup with eventual NCAA runner-up Memphis.

48.1: percent the Cyclones shot from the field against the Huskies. 

95: percent the Cyclones shot from the free-throw line, going 19-of-20. 

Next up for the Cyclones

Iowa State will face off against No. 1 overall seed Kentucky at approximately 6:45 p.m. Central time.