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Naz After

ISU Rallies, But Falls to Purdue In NCAAs

By Jason Van Arkel, March 19, 2017

For a fleeting moment, it was vintage Iowa State.

Down 19 with 14:23 left, the Cyclones roared back against Purdue. As they had done so many times in their careers, seniors Monte Morris, Matt Thomas, Naz Mitrou-Long and Deonte Burton brought ISU back from the brink. Thomas tied the game with a jumper, and with 3:11 left, Burton hits two free throws to give Iowa State its first lead.

Twelve seconds later, the lead vanished, and this time, Iowa State couldn’t quite recover.

The fourth-seeded Boilermakers got a go-ahead 3-pointer from P.J. Thompson with 2:59 left, and hung on for a narrow 80-76 victory. The loss ended the season for the Cyclones with a 24-11 record. Iowa State missed out on its chance to make the Sweet 16 for the third time in the last four seasons.

“The first five minutes of the second half obviously was going in the wrong direction,” Thomas said. “We were able to hit some shots, get some stops, and cut it to like, six or seven. That’s when I started feeling confident that we were going to win the game. We were just one or two plays short.”

Even after losing the lead, ISU still could have had one more opportunity. Down 78-76 with 11 seconds left, they fouled Purdue’s Dakota Mathias, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Cyclones could not secure the rebound, however, and Thompson hit two free throws a moment later to put the game out of reach.

Burton finished the night with a game-high 25 points, 17 of which came in Iowa State’s furious second-half rally. Thomas had 20 points, including 12 in what was otherwise a rough first half for the Cyclones. Morris, ISU’s All-American, finished his career with an 18-point, 9-assist, 4-rebound, 3-steal line.

Iowa State trailed by 13 at halftime, and before the rally began, they couldn’t handle Purdue’s inside threats. Vincent Edwards scored 21, Caleb Swanigan scored 20 and Isaac Haas had 14 points off the bench. The Boilermakers scored 40 points in the paint to ISU’s 30, and had 23 bench points while the Cyclones only had five.