Oklahoma 68, Iowa St. 63
Thursday, March 8th 2007, 2:03 pm
By: News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Nate Carter scored 22 points and got Oklahoma back on track after it had squandered a 14-point lead as the Sooners beat Iowa State 68-63 in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday.
After the Cyclones (15-16) had rallied back to take the lead, Carter scored off an offensive rebound to get put ninth-seeded Oklahoma (16-14) back on top 56-55.
David Godbold's 3-pointer pushed Oklahoma's lead to four, and Iowa State went 4 minutes without scoring after its big comeback.
Godbold hit 1-of-2 free throws with 54.2 seconds left to make, and he tracked down the rebound on his miss to set up Tony Crocker's two foul shots that made it 63-56.
Iowa State got within 66-63 on Dodie Dunson's 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left, but Carter hit two foul shots to seal the victory.
Crocker, making his first start since Oklahoma's 58-51 loss at Iowa State on Feb. 13, ended up with 15 points for his back-to-back double-figure scoring games since Jan. 1. Godbold and Taylor Griffin each added 11.
The Sooners snapped a six-game losing streak that began with the loss to the Cyclones, avoiding the longest run of losses since they dropped eight games in a row in February 1969.
Mike Taylor scored 18 points, Wesley Johnson got all 11 of his points in the second half, and Dunson had 10 points for Iowa State.
Without an unprecedented four wins in four days at the Big 12 tournament, both teams were likely playing for a chance at an NIT bid.
Iowa State shot 7-for-22 from 3-point range and broke the school's season record for 3s on Johnson's make in final minute. The Cyclones ended up with 203 3-pointers _ two more than they had last season.
Johnson and Jiri Hubalek, the Cyclones' second- and third-leading scorers, helped lead the second-half comeback after being held scoreless in the first half. The duo scored Iowa State's first six points after halftime, and then contributed to a 10-0 run that got the Cyclones back within 42-39 on Johnson's layup off a baseline inbounds pass.
Each one picked up his fourth foul within a 47-second span, with Hubalek following Johnson to the bench with 9:23 to play, but the Cyclones kept coming.
Jessan Gray, who replaced Hubalek, had a two-handed dunk to keep the rally going, and Corey McIntosh put Iowa State ahead 56-55 on a driving layup with 4:38 remaining _ setting off cheers from two noisy sections filled with Cyclones fans behind the Iowa State bench.
It was the only time Iowa State would lead the entire game.
Crocker, starting in place of the ill Michael Neal, scored the first five points of the game as Oklahoma opened an early 9-2 lead. Iowa State spent much of the rest of the half trying to close the gap, getting within one point twice before the Sooners pulled away with a 9-0 run made up entirely of free throws to go up 27-17.
Bobby Maze's 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer pushed the edge to 35-23, and his basket after the break pushed the lead to its highest point at 14.