KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — No. 13 Iowa State rallied from a double-digit deficit for the fourth straight game, then watched Oklahoma’s Ryan Spangler miss a point-blank layup at the buzzer that gave the Cyclones a 67-65 victory over the No. 15 Sooners in Friday night’s Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
Georges Niang had 13 points, Jameel McKay added 12 and Monte Morris had 11 for the second-seeded Cyclones (24-8), who needed a buzzer-beater to beat Texas in the quarterfinals.
The defending champions will play No. 9 Kansas, the top seed, for the title Saturday night.
Buddy Hield had 16 points to lead the No. 4 seed Sooners (22-10), who blew an early 11-point lead but still had plenty of chances down the stretch to win the game.
Isaiah Cousins added 14 points, and TaShawn Thomas and Jordan Woodard added 13 points apiece for the Sooners, who haven’t played for the title since winning three straight from 2001-03.
The Cyclones got off to a lousy start for the fourth straight game, this time letting the Sooners jump out to a 21-10 lead. But just like the first three, Iowa State reeled them back.
The Cyclones still trailed 27-19 when they put together a 10-2 spurt into halftime. Bryce Dejean-Jones and Naz Long hit back-to-back 3s, and Long added another basket to give the Cyclones their first lead, before Hield’s free throws knotted the game at 29.
Iowa State pushed out to a 50-42 lead midway through the second half, but that was as close as either team came to creating separation. Oklahoma answered with a charge of its own, and Hield finished off a 10-2 spurt that made it 58-all with about 8 minutes left.
From there, it was a sprint to the finish.
Iowa State took a 64-61 lead on a putback by McKay, and after the big forward blocked Woodard at the other end, Niang scored on a nifty fade way to make it 66-61 with 1:52 to go.
Spangler scored on a reverse layup at the other end for Oklahoma, and after the Cyclones came up empty on offense, the Sooners raced back the other way. Hield missed a tightly guarded 3 that would have tied it, but Thomas was there for the putback with 12.6 seconds left.
Oklahoma quickly fouled Niang, an 81-percent free-throw shooter. He came up short on his first attempt before making his second, leaving the door open for the Sooners.
Thomas inbounded the ball to Woodard, and he drove right at Niang. The ball ended up in the hands of Spangler, but the junior forward’s shot trickled off the rim as the clock expired.
The Cyclones raced off their bench to celebrate for the second straight night.
Oklahoma: Hield was just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc. … The Sooners blew a 21-point lead against Iowa state on March 2. … Spangler also had three of the Oklahoma’s 14 turnovers. … The Sooners only got two points total from their bench in two tournament games.
Iowa State: Niang added eight rebounds and four assists. … The Cyclones got 17 points off the bench. … Morris hit the winner against Texas on Thursday night. … The Cyclones won despite getting outrebounded 43-27.
Oklahoma: awaits its NCAA Tournament seeding on Sunday.
Iowa State: faces the Jayhawks for the title on Saturday night.
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