Iowa State blitzes Houston in second half, wins Big 12 tourney title 69-41

Iowa State Dominates Houston with Second-Half Surge, Clinches Big 12 Tournament Championship with 69-41 Victory

In a stunning display of skill and teamwork, Keshon Gilbert led Iowa State to a triumphant victory in the Big 12 Tournament, scoring 16 points. The seventh-ranked Cyclones showcased their dominance over the top-ranked Houston, especially in the second half of the game on Saturday night. This victory marked their sixth championship win in as many appearances in the title game, with a final score of 69-41.

Milan Momcilovic contributed significantly with 18 points, while Hason Ward added 13 points to the Cyclones’ tally, bringing their season record to 27-7. Their journey to the championship saw them defeating five different teams, including a memorable victory over Oklahoma, a team previously coached by Kelvin Sampson, who now leads the Cougars. This loss was a tough one for Sampson, reminiscent of a challenging time in 2000. The Cyclones expanded their lead from 30-23 at halftime to a commanding victory, thanks to an 18-3 run at the start of the second half. This performance ignited the passion of the many Cyclones fans in Kansas City, turning the city into a sea of red and yellow.

The coaching prowess of T.J. Otzelberger, the fourth coach to lead Iowa State to a tournament victory, was evident throughout the game. Despite the change in leadership, the Cyclones’ winning spirit remained unshaken.

Houston’s Jamal Shead struggled throughout the game, managing only 10 points with a 3-for-17 shooting performance. The team, as a whole, faced difficulties, with L.J. Cryer and Emanuel Sharp scoring only seven and five points, respectively. Their shooting accuracy was off, with only 4 of 22 successful attempts from the 3-point line and 15 of 56 overall.

Iowa State’s strategy was to outplay Houston at their own game. The Cyclones remained calm and collected, even when facing an early deficit. Their excellent ball movement and strategic play allowed them to score easily, particularly through the efforts of Momcilovic and other sharpshooters who excelled at 3-pointers.

On defense, the Cyclones were relentless, forcing Houston’s Shead into difficult shots and effectively neutralizing him as a threat. J’Wan Roberts of Houston was also limited in his effectiveness after an injury, playing only in the first half.

The Cyclones’ impressive start to the second half, scoring the first 10 points, and a crucial 3-pointer by Momcilovic, widened their lead significantly. Houston’s attempts to catch up were in vain, as they struggled to score for over 9 minutes.

Looking ahead, Iowa State is poised to be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, with a likely game in Omaha, Nebraska, a location conveniently close to their campus in Ames, Iowa. Meanwhile, Houston is expected to secure a No. 1 seed, setting the stage for a possible rematch between the two teams in the tournament.

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