No. 23 Iowa State withstands K-State’s comeback bid

Milan Momcilovic scored a game-high 19 points and No. 23 Iowa State pulled away late to defeat Kansas State 78-67 on Wednesday night in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State improved to 12-0 at home this season.

The Cyclones (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) got 18 points from Curtis Jones plus 15 points and 13 rebounds from Keshon Gilbert.

The Wildcats (14-5, 4-2) tied the score on five occasions in the second half but never led in the contest. Kansas State was led by Arthur Kaluma with 16 points. Cam Carter added 12.

After Iowa State scored the first basket of the second half to stretch the lead to 43-29, Kansas State went on a 9-0 run to get within five points.

When Carter threw down a dunk with 14:37 left, the score was tied for the first time at 47-all. From then until five minutes remained in the game, each time the Cyclones regained the lead, the Wildcats answered.

Carter picked up his fourth foul with 8:24 left, but the Cyclones couldn’t capitalize. David N’Guessan tied it for the fifth time at 61-61 with 4:52 left on a layup. N’Guessan had a chance to tie it again but missed two free throws with 3:21 left.

Jones then nailed a long 3-pointer to give Iowa State a 66-61 lead with 2:47 left.

N’Guessan was called for a foul when Momcilovic went to the ground, and Wildcats coach Jerome Tang was whistled for a technical foul for arguing the call. Iowa State pulled away from there.

The Wildcats wanted to avoid turnovers and a big early deficit. Iowa State came into the game second in the nation in turnovers forced per game (18.6). Kansas State was last in the Big 12 with 14.7 turnovers per game. The Wildcats committed three turnovers before they took their first shot, which led to an early 6-0 hole. The Wildcats had nine turnovers in the first half, 17 in the game.

Carter, Kansas State’s leading scorer, went to the bench with two fouls 36 seconds into the game and didn’t return until 5:59 remained in the half. The Wildcats trailed by as many as nine points before the second media timeout and went to the locker room trailing 41-29.

Iowa State was led by Jones with nine first-half points. Kaluma topped Kansas State with seven points before the break.