This 2015-16 college basketball season has been wild to say the least. The Oklahoma Sooners feature the Wooden Award hopeful in senior guard Buddy Hield. Iowa State came into this game with many questions looming as to whether or not they were still a contender in the Big 12 Conference. Tonight, they answered those questions and silenced the noise with their key win over the number one ranked Sooners, 82-77.
Sooners Fight From Behind
This was one of the better and more entertaining games of this season in college hoops. The Cyclones took a ten point lead at one point but Lon Kruger's Sooners were not going down without swinging. That ten point lead is deceiving, however, because the score was all nodded at 67 with 3:30 left to play in the game. Isaiah Cousins also hit a game-tying three pointer for the Sooners with 41 seconds left, tying the game at 75.
Superstars Lead The Way For Each Team
Buddy Hield led all scorers in this game with 27 points, hitting 10/23 shots from the field. Hield also had some help in an unlikely help from Isaiah Cousins, who came into the game struggling. However, Cousins has been working harder by going to the gym and shooting the ball and it paid off a bit on Monday. Cousins was just behind Hield, with 26 points on the night.
For the Cyclones, senior forward Georges Niang led their team in scoring with 22 points. Iowa State had three players that scored 20-plus points on Monday night. Monte Morris scored twenty points along with Abdel Nader. This was a big win not only for Iowa State's players, but for first year head coach Steve Prohm. Prohm coached his team to a historic win on Monday night.
Number Ones Continue To Falter
The upset on Monday was the third time a number one team has gone down in the state of Iowa this season. Northern Iowa took down North Carolina and Iowa took down Michigan State at home as well. Furthermore, this was the first win for Iowa State over an AP number one team since knocking off Wilt Chamberlain and the Kansas Jayhawks back on January 14th, 1957. That's right, Prohm did something no coach has done in almost six decades.
Big 12 Implications
This game has huge implications for the Big 12 Conference this season. Both of these teams are great and Iowa State may finally be starting to play like it. The Cylcones are 14-4 on the year with a 3-3 conference record. The Sooners are 15-2 overall but are up just one game on the Cylcones with a 4-2 record in conference.
Then there's the Kansas Jayhawks, who sit atop the Big 12 Conference with a 4-1 conference record and are 15-2 overall. Even the Baylor Bears are quietly in this race and have a chance to hoist the Big 12 crown that Kansas has owned in recent years, winning eleven straight years.
Sooners Looking To Rebound
The Sooners will look to regroup from this 82-77 loss but things will not get any easier for them. They have to travel to play the Baylor Bears in Waco on Saturday. Lon Kruger still has a phenomenal team together this year and they can still win the Big 12 title. But they are going to need Ryan Spangler to step up as he had a poor night, scoring just two points.
They may have a "three-headed monster" type of offense if Spangler can improve his play and if Isaiah Cousins can keep working and improve each game. Monday was a good step in the right direction for Cousins. Buddy Hield will always carry his end of the bargain for the Sooners. But for them to truly make a splash this year, Hield will need some sort of outside help.
Iowa State Looking To Follow Up Big Win
As for the Cyclones, they will travel to Fort Worth on Saturday for a matchup against TCU. The Horned Frogs are 9-9 on the year following their loss on Monday to Texas Tech. The Cyclones have a legitimate shot at taking the Big 12 title away from Kansas as well. This is a key win for their resume as we inch closer to March and tournament time.
Iowa State tapped into and realized their potential as a team on Monday. It was a type of win that helps build confidence and adds some momentum to that locker room. This Big 12 race is shaping up to be a good one down the stretch and if it is anything like Monday's game, it will be.