ORLANDO – Despite shooting just 34.2 percent on the day, No. 21 Iowa State battled to defeat Indiana State 73-71 in the opening game of the Advocare Invitational Thursday afternoon at HP Field House. The win moves the Cyclones to 4-0 on the year, while Indiana State is now 2-2.
Iowa State, who battled back from as many as nine points down in the game, was led by Monté Morris, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. He was one of five Cyclones in double figures, which included a double-double off the bench from Darrell BowieClick here to hear it of 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cyclones struggled to slow down a hot-shooting Sycamores side, as Indiana State drained 12 of its first 18 shots to build up a 29-21 advantage after 12 minutes of action. The Cyclones were down 33-24 when the comeback began, via a 10-0 run started by a Monté Morris 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, a bold transition 3-ball from Matt Thomas and capped by a pair of Nazareth Mirtou-Long free throws to get Iowa State ahead 34-33. The Cyclones got a strong performance off the bench by Darrell BowieClick here to hear it, who posted nine points and five boards to help get Iowa State ahead 41-40 at the break.
Indiana State continued to bomb away from 3-point range as back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half got the Sycamores back ahead at 46-43. Morris continued to fill the score sheet, helping lead a 9-0 run for ISU with seven as Iowa State opened up a 54-48 lead. Indiana State kept battling back, retaking the lead at 55-54 as the duo of Laquarious Paige and Brenton Scott carried the offensive load for the Sycamores. The Cyclones were back ahead soon enough, as Mitrou-Long buried a corner 3-pointer to get back ahead 65-64.
Despite Indiana State piling up fouls, the Sycamores were able to push back ahead to 68-65. The Cyclones needed to start taking advantage at the free throw line, which was a struggle as the Cyclones had a 2-of-8 run at the stripe from five minutes to play to two minutes to go. Morris drove for a lay-in to tie it at 69-69, and Iowa State was back ahead when Thomas got the shooter’s roll on a corner 3-pointer to move to 72-71. Each team traded stops, but the Cyclones were able to draw a third charge in the final five minutes when Mitrou-Long was bowled over by Scott with 8.9 seconds left.
Mitrou-Long converted one of two from the line, giving Indiana State a final possession with 7.8 seconds left. The Sycamores ran a hand-off for Scott, who fired from 25-feet and saw the ball rim in and out, allowing Iowa State to remain undefeated.
Monté Morris was a reliable source for offense throughout the day, leading the Cyclones with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Despite having just one assist, Morris was reliable on the glass, drawing nine rebounds. However, his biggest defensive contribution came in the form of a pair of drawn charges late in the second half that helped push Iowa State ahead.
Darrell BowieClick here to hear it was crucial in the first half off the bench when Merrill HoldenClick here to hear it found himself with two fouls just 2:09 into the game. Bowie had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Nazareth Mitrou-LongClick here to hear it struggled from the field, shooting just 3-of-12 overall and 2-of-7 from 3-point range. However, he made some clutch free throws down the stretch, and also drew a charge that helped keep Iowa State ahead late.
Iowa State will play the winner of the Stanford-Miami (FL) game, which was in progress at the time of publishing, on Friday. Tip off will be at 10 a.m. Central Time, 11 a.m. in Orlando, with ESPN2 televising the game.