December 12, 2015

Iowa State fans felt compelled to rush the court following a dramatic victory over an unranked rival earlier this week.

There's no reason for the home faithful to be in a similar position Sunday when the undefeated, fourth-ranked Cyclones face Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Monte Morris hit a runner with nine seconds remaining and Iowa State (8-0) overcame a 20-point second-half deficit to beat Iowa 83-82 on Thursday. Fans poured onto the court for a curious celebration considering the Hawkeyes, though a prominent foe, suffered their third loss of the season and seventh straight in Ames.

A local newspaper reporter suffered a broken leg in the mayhem. First-year Cyclones coach Steve Prohm and Iowa State officials offered their apologies for the injury, and the Big 12 will not discipline the school for the overall court-storming incident.

"That's part of college basketball," Prohm said. "Give (the fans) their 15-20 minutes to do that. I probably should have enjoyed it more but I was just like 'thank God' I didn't have to come into this media session in my first year and answer questions on why you lost to Iowa."

Prohm was able to breathe easier after the Cyclones showed their mettle and gave him the best start by a first-year coach in school history.

Iowa State let the Hawkeyes shoot 59.4 percent in the first half but held them to 36.4 percent in the final 20 minutes and scored the last nine points to complete a 32-11 run.

Relieved with the result, Prohm was more proud of his team than concerned going forward after it allowed season highs for points, field-goal percentage (47.7) and 3-pointers made (11).

"I just thought we lost our poise," he said. "You're playing 40 minutes. We just had to stay the course ... and we were going to be fine."

Morris (15.5 points per game) had 20 points with nine assists while Jameel McKay (14.6 ppg) scored the same and pulled down 12 rebounds to help the Cyclones win their 32nd straight nonconference game at Hilton Coliseum.

"As long as we're at Hilton I always believe we can win," said the 6-foot-9 McKay, who has averaged 16.0 points and 13.7 boards in three games this month.

Iowa State should endure far less drama while trying to improve to 4-0 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-7).

The Golden Lions are no strangers to facing power-conference opponents. They have already lost this season at Oklahoma State, Cincinnati and Nebraska, were beaten by 46 against a Michigan State team that's currently No. 1 and fell 80-45 at Virginia Tech last Saturday.

"We're going to take this as a challenge, going into these kind of areas," UAPB coach George Ivory said. "Playing and executing what we do for the future."

Pine Bluff enters the weekend second-to-last in the country in both scoring (53.8 points per game) and field-goal percentage (35.3). Senior swingman JoVaughn Love is the only player averaging in double figures at 10.6, but he was held to two while dealing with foul trouble against the Hokies.

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