SAN ANTONIO — DeAndre Kane knew he would have to do more.
Niang, the Cyclones’ third-leading scorer this season, broke a bone in his right foot in their opening-round victory and is out the rest of the NCAA tournament. Without him, they were undermanned and undersized for Sunday afternoon’s game against North Carolina.
But Kane not only did more, he also did so when the game was on the line. He hit a game-winning layup with 1.8 seconds left to help his third-seeded Cyclones hold off the resilient Tar Heels, 85-83, in the third round of the East region.
After Kane's layup, North Carolina tried to advance the ball past midcourt and call timeout; but after five minutes of conferring, the officials ruled the Tar Heels didn't get the timeout in time and that the game was over.
Kane had a game-high 24 points on 9 of 18 shooting for Iowa State, which next plays seventh-seeded Connecticut (28-8) on Friday in New York.
The Cyclones (28-7) led by four with just over 10 minutes left, but North Carolina went on a 20-8 run in game’s next 7 minutes to take an eight-point lead with 4:23 remaining. Iowa State stormed back to tie the game at 76 with 2:03 to go on a layup by Melvin Ejim, who was fouled on the play and missed the free throw. Iowa State's Nate Long again tied the game at 81 with a three-pointer with 50.9 second left.
North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo was fouled with 15.7 seconds to go on a drive to the rim. He calmly made both free throws to tie the game at 83, setting up Kane’s heroics.
Without Niang, the Cyclones were out of synch early. They missed nine of their first 10 shots, falling behind by as many as seven twice in the game’s opening six minutes.
But then Iowa State’s shots started falling, especially from three-point range, hitting 4 of its next 5 attempts that left North Carolina coach Roy Williams flailing his arms in disgust. Even more importantly, Kane began to take over. He scored 10 points in less than six minutes, highlighted by crossing over a North Carolina defender and exploding to the basket for a one-handed dunk with the shot clock winding down. Later in the half, he hit a three-pointer as he was falling down.
While the game’s officials huddled about whether North Carolina (24-10) had called its timeout before time expired, Kane waved his arms intermittently. And when it was deemed no time was left, he and Iowa State’s cardinal mascot celebrated near the baseline. Kane continued his dancing in front of the Iowa State bench, but then found Niang, who playfully punched at Kane’s body before the two embraced.