Clyburn carries Cyclones past Baylor, 79-71
AMES – Iowa State senior Will Clyburn shrugged when asked to explain the numbers.
Clyburn scored 28 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and made all but one of his team’s 3-pointers in Saturday’s 79-71 Big 12 Conference win over Baylor.
The rest of the typically hot-shooting Cyclones (15-6, 5-3) went 1 of 18 from beyond the arc but found a way to pull into a four-way tie for third place in the conference standings.
“My teammates tried to find me and get me open,” said Clyburn, a transfer from Utah who has 14 career double-doubles. “That’s basically what it was.”
Iowa State won its league-leading 19th straight game at home and extended its conference home win streak to 11.
“They continue to lift us up,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said of the home crowd. “The fans are a huge reason why we win in this building.”
The Bears (14-7, 5-3) lost their second consecutive game and fell to 0-11 all-time in Ames.
“I thought we’d score a little more in the paint, which we weren’t able to do,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team joined Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the third-place logjam. “Credit the defense for that.”
Freshman Georges Niang pitched in 17 points for the Cyclones, who missed their first 13 3-point attempts.
Iowa State, which entered the game tied for fourth nationally in 3-pointers per game at 9.3, weathered rare long-range shooting woes, missing their first 13 shots from beyond the arc. Niang finally made one that tied the game at 40 with 16:24 left.
Lifting the long-range lid seemed to spark Iowa State, which later used a 9-2 run ignited by Clyburn’s third 3-pointer to lead 67-59.
Baylor could not creep closer than five points from the lead after that and lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
Neither team led by more than six points until well into the second half. Iowa State took a 20-15 lead on Niang’s hook shot with 9:44 left in the first half, but Baylor responded with an 8-1 run fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers from Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson – who scored a team-best 23 points – to go ahead 23-21 two minutes later.
The Bears drilled 5 of 11 3-point shots in the first half but negated hot outside shooting with eight turnovers and trailed 31-30 at the break. Iowa State committed 10 turnovers overall and ended up 4 of 24 from 3-point range.
Tyrus McGee scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench for the Cyclones. Iowa State ended up with a 39- 35 rebounding edge despite leading rebounder Melvin Ejim playing just 14 minutes. Ejim still managed to snare eight rebounds – 1.5 below his average.
“We just did a better job of boxing out,” said Niang, who added four rebounds and two assists. “(Clyburn) was coming in and crashing and getting those loose balls and helping us win the rebounding game.”
Clyburn also shined at the line, going 11 of 12. The Cyclones got there 30 times and made 25.
“Your shots aren’t always going to fall,” Clyburn said. “So you’ve got to try to get to the free-throw line and try to get something inside.”
Niang reached double figures for the 14th time this season and said suddenly – after No. 2 Kansas’ home loss Saturday to Oklahoma State – the league race seems wide open.
“Anybody can be beat,” he said. “We want to be at the top when it’s all said and done.”