The Iowa State Cyclones made an impressive late comeback to overcome the Baylor Bears, winning, 74-65, and claiming the Big 12 Tournament championship to secure an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor threatened to put this one away early, jumping out to an 11-2 lead, but the Cyclones rallied back towards the end of the half, going into halftime with a manageable 32-27 deficit. Both teams struggled to find the bucket in the first half--Baylor shot just 34.5 percent from the floor, while Iowa State made only 30.8 percent of their field goals.
The Bears controlled the game for most of the second half, but Iowa State made a furious comeback down the stretch. The Cyclones used a 12-1 run to get within three points, and Naz Long gave them their first lead of the game with a three-pointer at the 3:46 mark. Iowa State pulled away in the final minutes to complete the comeback and secure a place in next week's tournament.
Five Cyclones scored double-digit points, with DeAndre Kane leading the way with 17. Iowa State's shooting was much improved in the second half, finishing with a 50 percent field goal percentage. They also won the rebounding war, 38-28. Kenny Chery led the Bears with 16 points.
With the win, Iowa State is all but guaranteed a protected seed, and probably won't get any worse than a No. 3 line. As for Baylor, they should be in as well despite the loss. They made an impressive turnaround from a 2-8 start in conference play, and getting to the final round of a stacked Big 12 tourney will surely turn heads in the selection committee.