Iowa State ekes out Oklahoma, advances to Big 12 title game


Redshirt junior forward Jameel McKay puts up a shot during the Big 12 Championship semifinal game against Oklahoma on March 13 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The Cyclones defeated the Sooners 67-65 to advance to the final championship game against Kansas on March 14. McKay had 12 points and nine rebounds for Iowa State.

Max Dible

The final chapter of the Cyclones vs. Sooners trilogy played out in the semifinals of the Big 12 conference tournament, and it was one for the ages.

The Lowdown

No. 13 Iowa State squared off against No. 15 Oklahoma for the third time in an epic season series between the teams, which previously saw each squad claim victory on their home courts.

At Oklahoma, the game was tied at 46 at halftime before promptly blowing the Cyclones out of the gym. At Iowa State, the Cyclones completed a 21-point comeback—the largest by any NCAA team this season—on the strength of a 22-0 run.

On March 13, the game was close wire to wire. Iowa State claimed a 67-65 victory to advance to its second consecutive Big 12 tournament title game.

The Turning Point

Momentum shifted early in the second half when Iowa State, trailing by two, strung together a 9-0 run to grab a seven-point advantage. The Cyclone spurt was ignited by Jameel McKay, who opened the half with six straight ISU points.

Oklahoma regained its composure, and even regained the lead at 58-54 several minutes later, but the separation Iowa State earned early in half number two stopped the Sooners from surging beyond the Cyclones’ grasp.

The X-Factor

Jameel McKay was the man for Iowa State in every sense of the word. He scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards, helping Iowa State secure a substantial advantage in points in the paint. McKay also blocked two shots and acted as head cheerleader, beckoning ISU fans to their feet all night.

By the Numbers

2- The Cyclones’ average margin of victory in its two tournament games thus far.

4- The number of Cyclones who scored in double figures on the evening.

12- The number of ISU steals in the game.

17- The total bench production for Iowa State. Oklahoma’s bench scored two points all night.

35- The total number of ISU points scored in the paint against a tough OU front-line.

Iowa State will take on Kansas in an encore trilogy performance on March 14 to decide the tournament champion. Opening tip is set for 5 p.m. CST.