MEN’S BBALL: Cyclones slip up late

Texas Avery Bradley closes in on Iowa States Diante Garrett during Wednesdays game at Hilton Coliseum. Avery led the Longhorns in their 90-83 win over the Cyclones. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Logan Gaedke

Texas’ Avery Bradley closes in on Iowa State’s Diante Garrett during Wednesday’s game at Hilton Coliseum. Avery led the Longhorns in their 90-83 win over the Cyclones. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Nate Sandell

Iowa State gave the No. 1 team in the country a scare Wednesday night, but could not close out the game.

The Cyclones led the top-ranked Texas Longhorns 44–42 at half, but a strong start to the second half allowed Texas to quell any hope of an upset with 90–83 victory over Iowa State.

A 10–0 start to the second half by the Longhorns put Iowa State down eight points before the 18 minute mark, and Iowa State was unable to regain the lead.

“You don’t have that margin of error with a team as talented as Texas,” ISU coach Greg McDermott said. “We had opportunities to win the game. We didn’t quit after that big run, but [Texas] made big play after big play.”

Texas freshman Avery Bradley went off for 24 points — 1a6 of which came in the second half. Bradley missed only four shots all game (10-for-14) and was perfect from 3-point territory.

Down at the half, Texas made adjustments at the half and put increased pressure on Iowa State guard Diante Garrett in order to throw Iowa State out-of-sync.

“We were just making sure No. 10 [Garrett] didn’t get the ball,” said Longhorn senior forward Damion James, who recorded a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds. “Coach said coming into the game [Garrett] meant so much to that team. Coming out of the second half we wanted to take the ball out of his hands and we were fortunate enough to do that and we were able to open the lead.”

Iowa State was ready for Texas’ full-court pressure defense at the start of the second half, but struggled to beat it.

“We prepared for their run and jump,” McDermott said. “I don’t know if there was a false sense of security in our minds because they didn’t use it in the first half, but we didn’t get in the right spots quick enough. I think we rushed a few decisions.”

Iowa State prevented Texas from putting the game out of reach after the early run, but Texas never let the Cyclones closer than four points in the second half.

Forward Craig Brackins, who finished with 18 points, said the team was not disheartened by the Longhorns’ early run.

“I felt we responded fine, but it was just the little stuff late in the game that cost us,” Brackins said.

The slow start in the second half diminished much of the effort the that Iowa State had show in the first.

In the first few minutes after tip-off, Texas put its shooting ability on display and moved out to an eight point lead.

But as the Longhorns went cold, Iowa State responded.

With a 6-for-9 clip from 3-point range in the opening half and several spirited dunks, the Cyclones were able to go on a scoring run with less ten minutes left in the half, leading by as much as six.

The Cyclones ended the half with a slim two point lead and the momentum slightly in their favor, despite Iowa State’s Charles Boozer having to be helped off the court with an leg injury late in the half.

“I really felt we could have had a bigger lead than we had,” McDermott said.

The failure to capitalize on those first half opportunities hurt the Cyclones in the end.

“I said in the pre-game, [Texas] has made North Carolina not look like North Carolina and Michigan State not look like Michigan State [this year] for periods of the game,” McDermott. “Our emphasis all week was that we can’t have that stretch and we had that stretch. Other than that we outplayed them.”

With the loss aside, Iowa State put together one of the most complete team efforts that it has had all season against a Final Four quality team. The Cyclones had four players in double figures. Marquis Gilstrap finished with a team high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Lucca Staiger was right behind Brackins with 17 points, which was aided by four three pointers. The Cyclones were also within four rebounds of a much larger Texas squad (42–38).

“As a team, we were deep and everyone contributed and that’s what’s going to help us in the Big 12,” Brackins said.