KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Isaac Likekele drove full court for a lay-up with :05 seconds left to propel Oklahoma State (18-14, 7-11 Big 12) to a 72-71 victory over Iowa State (12-20, 5-13 Big 12) in the first round of the Big 12 Championship Wednesday night.
The undermanned Cyclones gave it their best shot despite their depleted lineup. Iowa State played for the second-straight game without its top scorer, Rasir Bolton, who was sitting out while following concussion protocol.
Despite this, Iowa State came to play, holding a 10-point lead in the second half. The Cyclones had control late until the Cowboys made all 10 free throw attempts in the final 3:23 minutes of the contest.
Prentiss Nixon was stellar, pouring in a career-high 25 points, including 16 in the second half. He had help from Michael Jacobson, who had 13 points and six rebounds, and Caleb Grill, who tallied career highs in points (9) and rebounds (8).
Iowa State played just seven players in the game in its season finale.
How It Happened
The Cyclones showed grit and toughness from the start. Nixon and Tre Jackson combined for 15 points to give the Cyclones a 24-19 lead with 8:30 remaining in the opening period.
Nixon had nine points, including a steal and lay-in to help the Cyclones take advantage early.
Iowa State then went over four minutes without a point, as the Cowboys retook the lead at 26-24.
Ten turnovers in the first half by the Cyclones was the primary reason OSU went into the break with a slim, 34-32 lead.
Nixon came out smoking after the break, scoring 10-straight Cyclone points to help ISU take a 52-42 lead with 13:14 remaining. He had a couple of deep 3-pointers in his barrage.
The Cowboys trimmed the lead to 56-52, but a pair of free throws by George Conditt and a corner trey from Caleb Grill got the Cyclone lead back up to 61-52 with 8:31 left in the game.
OSU bounced back quickly, going on an 8-0 run until Nixon hit a step-back jumper, as the Cyclones clung to a 63-60 lead with 3:23 left in the game.
The Cowboys were then successful on 10-straight free throw attempts to move ahead 70-69 with :15 seconds left. Terrence Lewis got free for a dunk on ISU’s next possession, but Likekele took the inbounds and got the game-winner seconds later.
Players of Note
Prentiss Nixon was outstanding in his final game as a Cyclone, tallying a season-high 25 points and posting four assists. Nixon, who scored 16 points in the second half, tallied 10-straight points in the second half to help the Cyclones mount a 10-point lead. It was his second 20-point outing of the season.
Caleb Grill posted career highs in points (nine) and rebounds (eight) from off the bench. Grill also tallied a career-high three 3-pointers, including a pair in the second half. Grill was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.