Undefeated Iowa State tops Saint Louis - KMOV.com

Undefeated Iowa State tops Saint Louis

CHICAGO (AP) -- After overcoming a physical first half, Iowa State gained control of the second half by playing its up-tempo brand of basketball.

Craig Brackins and Diante Garrett scored 16 points apiece to lead the Cyclones to a 65-54 victory over Saint Louis in the Chicago Invitational Challenge on Friday night.

Iowa State (6-0) briefly trailed 31-30 early in the second half but responded with 13 unanswered points to pull away. Brackins converted a three-point play and Garrett had a layup to give Iowa State a 43-31 lead with 13:15 left.

Brian Conklin led Saint Louis (4-1) with 18 points, and Willie Reed had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

"This was a smash-mouth, physical game," Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said. "I think there were 10 fouls called in the first seven or eight minutes. We found a way to grind it out.

"They were obviously not going to let Lucca Staiger and Scott Christopherson stand around and shoot 3s. So we got Craig Brackins involved in the first half, and then finally in the second half we got some defensive rebounds and got our transition game going. Those baskets in transition were really the difference in the game."

Jamie Vanderbeken and Staiger made back-to-back 3s to push the Cyclones' lead to 54-37. But the Billikens came back, and when Kwamain Mitchell made their only 3-pointer with 1:11 left, it cut the deficit to 60-52.

"We have six freshmen and four sophomores; we are what we are," Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus said.

"They are a very good team. Brackins is a phenomenal pro prospect. He's got a man's body. We just didn't have the toughness to survive missing good shots."

Iowa State held Saint Louis to 1-for-16 from 3-point range, and the Billikens shot just 35.5 percent in the second half.

Majerus came away impressed with the Cyclones and expects them to be a factor in the Big 12.

"They're good," he said. "I have not seen Kansas in person, but if there is better material with depth, that would surprise me. (McDermott) does a good job, and they play hard."

Staiger finished with 10 points and Marquis Gilstrap 11 for the Cyclones.

Iowa State led 30-27 at the half. Conklin had nine points in the half on 4-of-5 shooting.

"They didn't make a shot outside of 3 feet in the first half, and I was finally smart enough to get us out of the press and get us settled into the quarter-court defense," McDermott said. "We applied smarter pressure in the second half, which I think made our defense a little more effective."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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