Morris finds redemption in game-winning shot to put away No. 1 Oklahoma

Monte Morris, junior guard, scored 20 points at the basketball game against Oklahoma on Jan. 18. This was his sixth 20-point game of his career.

Chris Wolff

The point guard nicknamed “Big Game Tae” lived up to that nickname once again in hitting the eventual game-winner against No. 1 Oklahoma on a pull-up jumper with 21 seconds to go in the game. 

He didn’t stop there, as he added two free throws with nine seconds remaining to help seal the deal.

Monté Morris can add that game-winner to his résumé that already includes game winners against Texas in the Big 12 tournament last season and against in-state rival Iowa earlier this season.

“When I get an open look, I’m going to take the shot and live with the results,” Morris said after hitting the third game-winning shot of his college career.

Morris has risen to the occasion more times than not, but his last two chances didn’t go as planned.

He airmailed a late-game floater in a loss to Northern Iowa, the team’s first of the season, and had a pair of mishaps against Oklahoma in their first meet-up this season.

During the matchup in Norman, Okla., Morris uncharacteristically turned the ball over by dribbling it off of his foot and then clanked a 3-pointer that would have given Iowa State the lead.

Despite missing his last two opportunities to win games, Morris wasn’t discouraged when he got his shot this time around.

“The old Monté would [have been discouraged],” he said. “I would always worry about what people would say. Now, I’m older – I’m a junior – and I just got to take the shot.”

More often than not, that’s been a good thing for the Cyclones. Morris is now 3-for-5 in game-winning situations in his career.

“The chips fell my way tonight,” Morris said. “They probably won’t fall my way every night, but they fell my way tonight.”

ISU coach Steve Prohm has repeatedly gone to Morris in late-game situations, putting the fate of the game in the hands of his junior point guard.

Morris’ ability to make something happen and the variety of shots he can get seems to be the reason for that decision.

“If you got a good point guard, you just got to either give him space or give him a flat ball screen to kind of go make a play,” Prohm said. “He’s got that little pull-up kind of step back shot that he’s kind of perfected.”

Another reason Prohm might go with Morris is the guard’s casual attitude toward the big stage. Morris talks about big shots like they’re nothing.

He’s hit game winners in high school, and said it’s not much of a difference now despite being on the national stage.

“I was so under the radar in high school, but I made five or six game-winners there,” Morris said. “I’m kind of accustomed to the situation. I’m just at a bigger stage now.”

This situation on this stage is especially fulfilling to Morris, who hasn’t been able to get his last-minute chances against Oklahoma just 16 days ago out of his head.

He dreamed about getting another chance to enact his revenge, this time in a nationally televised Big Monday game against the No. 1 team in the country.

“I smiled when I had a chance to redeem myself,” Morris said. “I dribbled it off my foot and then missed the game winner down there. I dreamed about having the opportunity to do it all over again.”