Iowa St. pulls away to oust Wazzu, advance to Sweet 16

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 24 Mar, 2024 at 04:44 AM

Credit: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tamin Lipsey scored 15 points and Iowa State reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons with a 67-56 victory over Washington State on Saturday in East Region second-round play at Omaha, Neb.

Curtis Jones added 14 points for the second-seeded Cyclones (29-7), who won for the ninth time in their past 10 games. Keshon Gilbert and Milan Momcilovic added 10 points apiece for Iowa State.

Jaylen Wells scored 20 points for seventh-seeded Washington State (25-10). Myles Rice added 13 points for the Cougars.

The Cyclones will face No. 3 Illinois in the Sweet 16.

Iowa State outscored Washington State 40-29 in the second half after a sluggish start to the game.

"Hats off to our guys to their toughness, their competitive spirit, and for stepping up, especially in that second half," said Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger, "but we knew it was going to be a challenging game and hats off to Washington State because they brought the best out in us."

The Cyclones shot 40.4 percent from the field, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range. Iowa State had a 21-4 edge in points off turnovers.

"It was a gritty performance from us," Lipsey said. "We didn't perform how we wanted to in the first half. We came out on a run right away to start that second half and we were able to build the lead from there."

Washington State connected on 43.1 percent of its shots and was a shaky 5 of 23 from behind the arc.

The ending was rough for the Cougars, but the program recorded its most wins since the 2007-08 edition coached by Tony Bennett went 26-9 and reached the Sweet 16. This was Washington State's first NCAA Tournament appearance since that season.

"We were proving people wrong," Cougars forward Isaac Jones said. "We had a good season. I've never been a part of a team like this before, so I'm just blessed, and I thank God for it. It didn't go the way I wanted it to (today), but I wouldn't have traded it for the world."

Iowa State scored the first six points of the second half with Tre King's layup giving the Cyclones a 33-27 lead.

The Cougars answered with an 8-3 run to move within 36-35 on a jumper by Rice with 13:47 remaining.

Iowa State then scored nine of the next 11 points. Lipsey, Jones and Momcilovic all made treys as the Cyclones led 45-37 with 11:26 left.

Momcilovic knocked down another trey to give Iowa State a 51-44 lead with eight minutes remaining. A short time later, Lipsey drained a 3-pointer and King hit a jumper to make it 56-46 with 6:48 left to play.

Robert Jones' dunk with 26.8 seconds made it a 14-point margin as the Cyclones closed it out.

"We don't feel like we beat ourselves, and you can hold your head high when you compete hard and these guys competed hard tonight," Washington State coach Kyle Smith said.

Wells had 16 first-half points and the Cougars led most of the way before heading into the break in a tie at 27.

Iowa State missed its first nine shots and 13 of 14 over the first eight-plus minutes as Washington State took an 11-4 lead. Yet the Cyclones soon went on an 11-2 run and took a 17-16 lead on two free throws by Gilbert with 5:36 left in the half.

The Cougars held a 25-19 advantage after Wells' jumper with three minutes left before Iowa State closed the half with an 8-2 run.

--Field Level Media