If you were told one team in tonight’s matchup between the Texas Longhorns and Iowa State Cyclones would never once own the lead — not even for a single second — most would place the money on that team being the ‘Horns.
After heading to Lawrence and stealing a victory over the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks just days ago, the Cyclones were never able to recover from a slow star and Texas capitalized en route to a 67-65 victory that came down to a last-second prayer from Matt Thomson, who had connected on 5-9 attempts from deep before his final shot.
The game unfolded as unexpectedly as possible from the tip. While The Cyclones were riding high off of a statement victory over the Jayhawks, the Longhorns returned home from a double-digit road loss to the Horned Frogs and wasted no time bouncing back.
A 6-0 start favoring Texas soon swelled into a 17-3 edge, which ballooned into a 22-5 advantage moments later. The ‘Horns were enjoying their most complete and impressive start to any game this season while Iowa State started 1-11 from the field and had just three points until the 11:51 mark in the first half.
Per usual, though, turnovers and offensive lapses plagued the ‘Horns and a 30-13 lead with 3:40 remaining before intermission was trimmed to a 32-29 edge prior to Andrew Jones hitting another three-pointer at the buzzer for a 35-29 halftime lead.
The second half kicked off in similar fashion, as a 6-0 Longhorns run was answered by a Thomas three, but things became much more of a back-and-forth affair from that point on. Following Texas’ 47-37 lead with 15:00 to play, a 9-5 Cyclones run trimmed things to 52-48 with 12:00 remaining.
Minutes later, Texas held a 55-50 advantage with 8:26 to play, which was then cut to 55-54 with 6:10 to play — the closest the game had been since Texas 2-0 lead.
Following a Texas turnover the very next possession, it appeared the ‘Horns would allow the momentum to swing completely in Iowa State’s favor, but an increasingly resilient Texas team went back-and-forth with the seasons Cyclones for the remainder of the night.
With Texas holding a 57-56 edge, a pair of Shaquille Cleare free throws were answer by a Monte Morris jumper, which was then followed by a Cleare floater. A Nazereth Mitrou-Long layup made it a one-point game again before a Kendal Yancy jam put Texas up 63-60 with under two minutes to play.
Fast forward to the final minute of the game and Iowa State’s Deonte Burton finally responded with a game-tying three-pointer. Guess who answered ... that’s right, Cleare’s layup gave Texas the lead late once more.
Shaw Cleare may have just won the game for Texas. pic.twitter.com/vZvmAHprDK— Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) February 8, 2017
But Burton, too, continued to respond with a layup with 15 ticks on the clock. Then, after the ‘Horns had knocked down just 14-25 attempts from the charity stripe, Jarrett Allen headed to the line with 7.2 seconds remaining in regulation for a one-and-one.
In matching the graceful perfection of his immaculate fro, Allen swished both to give the Texas it’s final lead 67-65. A few fouls to give late from the ‘Horns and you know how this one ended.
Allen led the way for Texas with 17 points on 7-11 from the field, along with nine boards. Cleare and Jones joined him in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively. All five starters scored and Yancy added nine clutch points off the bench to go with four key rebounds. As a unit, the ‘Horns out rebounded the Cyclones 39-31 and snagged 12 offensive rebounds.
Thomas’ 17 points behind a barrage of three-pointers headlined Iowa State, while Burton (13), Mitrou-Long (12) and Morris (10) all cracked double figures. In his typical form, Morris dished out seven assists without a single turnover.
The victory now gives Texas three wins in five games before heading to meet arguably the Big 12’s hottest team in Oklahoma State on Saturday.