KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Georges Niang walked off the floor in the closing minutes with a bloody towel pressed tightly to his forehead, pumping his fist and riling up the Iowa State fans in the Sprint Center.
Turns out he was just jump-starting the celebration.
Niang scored 25 points before leaving with that gash above his right eye, and the No. 16 Cyclones held on down the stretch to beat No. 10 Kansas 94-83 Friday night and reach their first Big 12 tournament title game since 2000.
We love competing for championships, Niang said later, a bandage over his wound. Coach says take it one day at a time, but the Big 12 championship is one day away from us.
DeAndre Kane had five 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim added 19 points for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (25-8), who will play for just their second tournament title tonight against the winner of Texas-Baylor.
Perry Ellis led Kansas with 30 points. Andrew Wiggins finished with 22.
The Cyclones turned a 48-46 deficit into a 66-57 lead, the last points in the run on a deep ball from Naz Long.
By that point, Iowa State was 11 of 16 from the 3-point line.
The Jayhawks extended their defense to the perimeter, and that’s when Iowa State started going to the basket. Niang scored four straight baskets for Iowa State during one stretch that made it 81-72 and scored on three straight trips to make it 86-74.
No. 1 FLORIDA 72, MISSOURI 49: In Atlanta, Scottie Wilbekin scored 15 points as the Gators remained unbeaten in the Southeastern Conference with a quarterfinal win.
No. 4 ARIZONA 63, COLORADO 43: In Las Vegas, Nick Johnson scored 16 points, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 12 as the Wildcats (30-3) won the Pac-12 tournament semifinal game.
No. 5 LOUISVILLE 94, HOUSTON 65: In Memphis, Tenn., Russ Smith scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Cardinals in the semifinals of the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament.
No. 6 VIRGINIA 64, FLORIDA STATE 51: In Greensboro, N.C., Joe Harris matched a season high with 20 points to lead the top-seeded Cavaliers (26-6) in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal.
No. 7 DUKE 63, CLEMSON 62: In Greensboro, N.C., Rodney Hood hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to lift the Blue Devils (25-7) in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.
No. 8 SAN DIEGO STATE 59, UNLV 51: In Las Vegas, Dwayne Polee II had 18 points and six rebounds to lead the Aztecs in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament.
N.C. STATE 66, No. 11 SYRACUSE 63: In Greensboro, N.C., T.J. Warren scored 28 points, and Ralston Turner banked in the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 left to lift the Wolfpack in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.
PITTSBURGH 80, No. 15 NORTH CAROLINA 75: In Greensboro, N.C., Talib Zanna had 19 points and a career-high 21 rebounds to lead the Panthers in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.
ST. BONAVENTURE 71, No. 18 SAINT LOUIS 68: In New York, Jordan Gathers hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the ninth-seeded Bonnies in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
No. 21 CONNECTICUT 58, No. 13 CINCINNATI 56: In Memphis, Tenn., Shabazz Napier hit a free throw with 11.1 seconds left as the Huskies (26-7) held off the Bearcats (27-6) to advance to the American Athletic Conference tournament final.
No. 23 VCU 71, RICHMOND 53: In New York, defensive ace Briante Weber scored 18 points in 18 minutes to lead the Rams (25-7) in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.