After struggling in conference play at home this season, the Bears turned things around, beating No. 13 Iowa State in overtime 100-91 on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.
The No. 25 Bears (19-7, 8-5) bounced back after a losing their last matchup at home (Texas Tech). Now back on track, the Bears keep their hopes alive to make into the NCAA tournament.
The Cyclones (18-8, 7-6) were seeking revenge after losing the previous matchup to the Bears in Ames, Iowa, 94-89, earlier in the season.
Sophomore forward Jonathan Motley started in place of senior forward Rico Gathers. Gathers has been out for two games with an illness.
In Gathers’ absence, Motley came up big for the Bears. He scored the first basket of the night to set the momentum in the Bears’ favor. Motley ended the night with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
With both teams trading baskets early on, it appeared that it was going to come down to the better defensive team.
Sophomore forward Terry Maston came off the bench to make it 18-13 after a layup. The Bears followed Maston’s score with a block. This continued the Bears’ energy and lead in the first half.
Freshman guard King McClure, another play that came off the bench, scored six points within just minutes of entering the game.
Struggling to stop the Cyclones from shooting the perimeter shots, the Cyclones capitalized on each open look to stay in the game.
The Bears were mostly unable to stop senior forward Georges Niang who has averaged 19.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. With this game being no different, Niang made his mark, scoring 24 points and eight rebounds.
However, a three-pointer by senior guard Lester Medford restored the Bears’ momentum going into halftime, 41-35.
Coming back from the half, the Bears lacked the intensity they ended the first half with, but a three by junior guard Ishmail Wainright put the Bears back where they needed to be.
However that short burst of intensity was halted by the Cyclones attacking in the paint and making stops on the defensive end.
With the Cyclones going up 51-49, head coach Scott Drew was forced to call a timeout.
The timeout seemed to do the Bears good. A layup by Maston and three by Wainright put the Bears back up, 54-51.
Although the points did not show for it, senior forward Taurean Prince made plays to put the crowd on their feet and, in return, push the Bears to keep driving down the court.
With Maston scoring 15 points in the game, he was a difference maker for the Bears.
Trailing by one with just over five minutes of regulation remaining, Drew called his final timeout to allow his team to regroup.
Two hit free throws by Prince put the Bears up, 74-73. Drawing another foul on the next possession down the court allowed the Bears to extend their lead to three with four minutes remaining.
With the Bears down two with just under two minutes remaining in regulation, Motley came up big to drain two free throws, tying the game 81.
A steal by Medford with 37 seconds gave the Bears a look to score, but the shot by Motley was swatted away.
A last second shot by the Cyclones was overruled by the officials as time expired in regulation with the score tied.
Going into extra time mixed free throws allowed the Bears to take the lead as Motley scored first for the Bears.
The Bears regained the momentum when Medford drained a three and Motley came down to throw one in the rim.
With the Bears up 89-84 the Cyclones continued to battle, coming down the court and drawing the foul to put the game back within three.
Wainright nailed a corner three to put the Bears up 94-89 with 45.6 seconds remaining in extra time.
Two free throws by Prince sealed the deal for the Bears at 100-91.
Although continuing to struggle on the defensive end, the difference maker was the Bears bench who outscored the Cyclones, 21-0 .
The Bears next test comes at 1 p.m. Saturday against Texas in Austin.