No. 5 Iowa State took a tough loss to a smaller in-state opponent Saturday night, falling 81–79 to Northern Iowa.
The two teams met at the Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, a neutral site. The Cyclones, considered one of the Big 12’s top squads, stumbled against their Missouri Valley rivals, trailing by nine at halftime before fighting back late. It wasn’t enough to prevent their first loss of the season, after allowing the Panthers to shoot 58% from the floor, including 13–22 from three.
After Georges Niang hit two free throws to make it 80–79 late in the game, Iowa State forced a turnover with 16 seconds left to regain possession. Niang caught the ball on an inbounds play, searching for the go-ahead bucket, but lost possession as he spun into the lane. The Panthers’ Wes Washspun split free throws with 6.4 seconds left, leaving one more opportunity for the Cyclones, but Monte Morris airballed a floater as time expired to seal Iowa State’s fate.
Washspun, a senior guard, was stellar for Northern Iowa, finishing with 28 points on 9–14 shooting, seven rebounds and 11 assists.
Niang finished with 30 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Cyclones.
- Jeremy Woo