AMES Iowa nearly conquered the road woes. Those nasty road woes that kept the Hawkeyes from the NCAA tournament a year ago snuck up behind them and bit them hard once again last night. Maybe worse than ever.
No. 23 Iowa led throughout the whole game but surrendered a five-point lead with 1:21 left and allowed No. 17 Iowa State to score the game's final eight points in an 85-82 Cyclones' win at Hilton Coliseum.
The Hawkeyes (10-2) missed five of six free throws in the final 3 minutes to drop their sixth straight game at Iowa State. The Cyclones remain perfect at 8-0.
Until the final two minutes, Iowa answered every ISU run in the second half. After the Cyclones started the half on a 8-2 run, the Hawkeyes rebounded with an 11-5 advantage. Devyn Marble was instrumental in that run, scoring five points and dishing to Aaron White down low for a basket. Anthony Clemmons hit a jumper to give the Hawkeyes a 58-51 lead with 15:26 left.
Then after Iowa State took a four-point lead, the Hawkeyes rallied. Mike Gesell scored on a drive to the basket and then a 3-pointer. Marble hit a pair of free throws to put Iowa back in the lead.
White led all scorers with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Devyn Marble had 19 points and six assists.
The Hawkeyes suffered through several excruciating road losses last season that kept them from a winning Big Ten record. All of them are familiar. Iowa blew a 19-point lead at Nebraska, a four-point lead late at Minnesota and a nine-point lead at Wisconsin. There were final chances at Purdue and Ohio State. They all ended in defeat.
Like this one.
Iowa dictated the first-half tempo from the beginning. The Hawkeyes trailed just once at 2-0 and led by as many as 10 late in the half.
The Cyclones cut Iowa's lead to 35-33 when Georges Niang scored on a three-point play with 3:02 left. But Iowa attacked ISU in the post on an 8-0 to retake control.
Peter Jok's free throws boosted Iowa's lead to 37-33. Then Iowa center Adam Woodbury stole the ball from ISU's Melvin Ejim and the Hawkeyes scored in transition when Anthony Clemmons found Devyn Marble for an oop dunk. Marble found Aaron White for a dunk one possession later to boost Iowa's lead to eight, and Marble moved it to 10 with a pair of free throws.
Niang scored on another three-point play, giving him 16 first-half points, and ISU guard Matt Thomas stole the ball from Jok and scored on a layup. But with two seconds left in the half, White scored inside to give Iowa a seven-point halftime margin.
In the first half the Hawkeyes shot 47.2 percent from the field, while ISU shot 38.7 percent. Iowa was 3-of-12 from 3-point range, while ISU sank only two of 10. Iowa was hit with 13 fouls, but Iowa State converted only 12 of 20 free throws.
Iowa next plays Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the Hawkeyes' final non-conference game this year.
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