Coming back from a double-digit deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining, the Iowa State Cyclones defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 73-66, in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday afternoon.
With both teams currently on the NCAA Tournament bubble, the victory is huge for Iowa State. Improving to 22-10 overall and 12-7 against conference foes, the Cyclones' resume is definitely bolstered going into the semifinals. One has to imagine that reaching the conference title game would make ISU a lock.
The Sooners dominated the first 30-plus minutes of Thursday's game, racing out to a 6-0 lead that would eventually balloon to 14 points with roughly three minutes to play before halftime. The Cyclones battled back to trim the deficit to six points early in the second half before Oklahoma expanded the lead back to double-digits.
However, down 60-48 with just under eight minutes left in regulation, Iowa State finally found its footing. Over the next three minutes, powered by seven points from Will Clyburn, the Cyclones would come back to tie the game at 60.
From there, Iowa State continued to ride an incredible defensive effort that prevented OU from getting anything other than trips to the free throw line. The Sooners didn't make a single field goal in the final eight-plus minutes of the game, getting outscored 25-6.
Clyburn's performance in the final minutes was nothing short of special. Over a two-plus minute span during Iowa State's big run, the senior guard scored 10 consecutive points for the Cyclones to potentially keep ISU's season alive.
With the victory, Iowa State advances to Friday's semifinals, where the Cyclones will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between No. 1-seed Kansas and No. 9 Texas Tech.