Tigers suffer 85-78 loss to 3-point crazy Iowa St.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State attempted a school-record 32 3-pointers and hit just enough of them to end its home schedule on a high note.

Will Blalock led six Cyclones in double figures with 20 points as Iowa State beat Missouri 85-78 Tuesday, its seventh straight home win over the Tigers.

Iowa State (16-12, 6-9 Big 12) has won two of three since a four-game losing streak buried its hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Missouri pulled within five twice in the final minutes, but Curtis Stinson's layup and Jiri Hubalek's dunk with 1:03 left put the game out of reach.

"Give Missouri credit," said Cyclones coach Wayne Morgan. "They kept fighting and trying to come back, and they kept playing."

With Iowa State up 43-42 midway through the second half, Blalock was called for an intentional foul that woke up both the crowd and the Cyclones.

Iowa State responded by building a 10-point lead, mostly from the behind the 3-point line. Iowa State hit five 3-pointers in a four-minute stretch -- including three from Will Blalock -- to jump ahead 60-50 with 8:56 left.

"It just jacked us up, and we said, 'Let's just play defense now and get after it,"' Stinson said.

The Cyclones hit 11 3-pointers, led by four from Blalock. The Tigers used a 1-3-1 zone to defend Iowa State, so the Cyclones decided the path to victory started beyond the arc.

"They were clogging the middle on us, so the three was open a lot," Stinson said. "They were wide open."

Thomas Gardner scored 24 points and Jimmy McKinney added 19 for Missouri (11-15, 4-11), which lost for the 10th time in 11 games.

"I thought we played the way we should be playing," Missouri interim coach Melvin Watkins said. "I can live with it if you're not good enough and you play hard."

The Tigers erased a six-point halftime deficit with a 15-3 run to open the second half, capped by a 3-pointer from Jimmy McKinney and a putback by Kevin Young.

Missouri shot 48 percent in the first half, but Blalock followed a 3-pointer with an inside basket during a 9-0 run that helped put Iowa State ahead 35-29 at the break.

Neither team pulled away in the opening half, which included seven ties and six lead changes.

The Cyclones outrebounded Missouri 42-35, a rare occurrence for an inexperienced front line that has been Iowa State's weakness.

"We're going to have a party with hats and everything," Morgan joked. "Our kids did scrap on the boards."

Stinson, the Big 12's second leading scorer, ceded his starting spot to senior John Neal, who was playing in his final regular season home game.

Hubalek scored 15 points, one shy of his career high, and Neal added a career-high 14.

Young scored 15 points and grabbed seven boards for the Tigers.

"It's frustrating when you give it all you've got and you don't win," McKinney said.

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