Sooners and Cyclones meet in Big 12 semifinals

Kansas City, MO ( - In the second Big 12 Conference Tournament semifinal matchup Friday night, the 15th-ranked and third-seeded Oklahoma Sooners will take on the 13th-ranked and second-seeded Iowa State Cyclones at the Sprint Center.


The winner will advance to the league championship game Saturday, and will face either the Baylor Bears or the Kansas Jayhawks with the conference title on the line.


Oklahoma took on heated in-state rival Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals on Thursday, and had little trouble dispelling the Cowboys in the 64-49 victory. The Sooners have won two in a row entering Friday's matchup, and five of the team's last six altogether.


Iowa State needed some heroics to take down Texas in Thursday's quarterfinal clash by a 69-67 score. Monte Morris made a jumper at the buzzer to lift his team to victory.


The two Big 12 powers met twice during the regular season, and each team took a victory on its home court. The most recent clash, a 77-70 Iowa State win in Ames, occurred on March 2.

Oklahoma put the clamps down defensively on Oklahoma State. The Sooners held the Cowboys to just 34.5 percent shooting, which included a dismal 3-of-21 mark from 3-point range. Buddy Hield netted 22 points to pace Oklahoma in the win, while Jordan Woodard added 11 points and Isaiah Cousins chipped in 10. TaShawn Thomas had a huge outing with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Ryan Spangler grabbed a team-best 15 boards for the Sooners.

Hield entered the contest on Thursday as the top scorer for Oklahoma, and also one of the best offensive players in the entire conference. He averaged 17.4 ppg heading into the postseason, and boosted his total after netting 22 on Thursday. As a unit, Oklahoma was collecting 72.4 ppg on 44 percent shooting. Against Iowa State earlier this month, Oklahoma was held to 35.5 percent shooting in the contest, though Hield did net 26 points in the seven-point loss.


Morris not only provided the game-winning shot that allowed Iowa State to beat Texas on Thursday, but he also led the Cyclones with 24 points in the quarterfinal matchup, adding in five steals as well. Georges Niang chipped in with 22 points and six assists to help the Cyclones in the win, in which the team connected on 40.7 percent of its attempts from the floor, including 10- of-22 from beyond the arc.


Niang leads a group of Iowa State scorers averaging double figures in terms of scoring at 15.4 ppg. As a unit, ISU is netting 79.0 ppg on 48.2 percent shooting headed into Friday's clash. In all, six players are averaging at least 10.0 ppg this season. In Iowa State's win over Oklahoma on March 2, Niang scored 23 points with eight rebounds and four assists before he fouled out, while Morris chipped in with 19 points in the winning effort.


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