MANHATTAN (AP) — Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The Cyclones had a one-point advantage and leading-scorer Georges Niang throwing the ball inbounds with less than 20 seconds left.
But 6-foot-7 Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu had another outcome in mind.
Iwundu capped a 22-9 scoring run with a steal and two-handed slam that gave Kansas State a 70-69 win over No. 12 Iowa State on Saturday and back-to-back Top 25 wins.
“It’s tough,” Hoiberg said. “You put the ball in your best player’s hands, and I trust Georges is going to make the right play 99 percent of the time.”
Kansas State (15-15, 8-9 Big 12) tied the game at 66 apiece with a tip-in by Justin Edwards with 59.4 seconds left. Iwundu gave Kansas State a 68-66 lead 13 seconds later, and the Cyclones responded with a 3-point play by Monte Morris.
Iwundu’s steal and slam proved redemptive after the sophomore had missed a free throw. He finished with 11 points.
The Wildcats held Iowa State (20-8, 10-6) to 38 percent shooting in the second half, which followed 8-of-15 shooting from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes.
“They pressure the heck out of you in this building, there is no doubt about that,” Hoiberg said. “They’ve won eight league games, they had a really good game and we expected them to come out and pressure us. They played us very tough.”
Nigel Johnson led Kansas State with 17 points after scoring a career-high 20 points in an upset of No. 8 Kansas on Monday night. Justin Edwards added a season-high 16 points.
“He’s been way more focused and playing with a lot more confidence,” Iwundu said of Johnson. “When he’s out there playing, he’s playing his game.”
Niang led Iowa State with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He added a career-high five 3-pointers for the Cyclones, who came in averaging a Big-12 best 79.4 points.
The Cyclones took a 40-33 lead at halftime, but 3-of-12 shooting from behind the arc in the second half derailed their chance for a third-straight Big 12 road victory.
Niang led the Cyclones with 12 points in the first half, including four shots from 3-point range. It was the first time Kansas State allowed 10 or more 3-pointers this season.
The Wildcats overcame two Iowa State double-digit leads in the second half.
The Kansas loss to Kansas State on Monday provided an opportunity for Iowa State to move into serious league championship consideration. But the Cyclones have had two-straight losses.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” Hoiberg said. “That’s two tough ones, two very tough ones in a row. We’ll find out a lot about ourselves in how we bounce back tomorrow.”
JOHNSON AND JOHNSON
When asked about Nigel Johnson’s combined 18.5 point-average against No. 8 Kansas and No. 12 Iowa State, Bruce Weber attributed it to attention to detail.
“In our shoot-around today, he asked his first question in two years,” Weber said. “So he actually paid attention and asked us about how to guard something. He’s made some progress.”
Kansas State: Thomas Gipson, who was one of three seniors recognized for the Wildcats’ final home game, is the 12th player in school history to score at least 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds.
Iowa State: Bryce Dejean-Jones was held scoreless for the first time as a Cyclone. The UNLV transfer came in averaging 12.1 points, but has been held to single digits in three of the last four games.
Iowa State: Hosts Oklahoma on Monday.
Kansas State: Plays at Texas next Saturday.
Big 12 Conference
KANSAS ST. 70,
No. 12 IOWA ST. 69
IOWA ST. (20-8)
McKay 4-7 5-6 13, Morris 6-11 3-3 15, Long 3-7 0-0 9, Hogue 3-6 0-0 8, Niang 8-16 0-0 21, Nader 0-1 0-0 0, Dejean-Jones 0-4 0-1 0, Thomas 1-6 0-0 3. Totals 25-58 8-10 69.
KANSAS ST. (15-15)
Thomas 1-4 0-0 2, Foster 2-5 1-1 6, Williams 2-8 2-2 6, Iwundu 5-6 0-4 11, Gipson 4-5 0-0 8, T. Harris 0-2 1-3 1, M. Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Edwards 7-14 0-0 16, N. Johnson 7-13 2-2 17, Hurt 1-2 1-1 3. Totals 29-60 7-13 70.
Halftime—Iowa St. 40-33. Three-point Goals—Iowa St. 11-27 (Niang 5-7, Long 3-7, Hogue 2-5, Thomas 1-5, Dejean-Jones 0-1, Morris 0-2), Kansas St. 5-19 (Edwards 2-6, Iwundu 1-1, Foster 1-4, N. Johnson 1-4, Thomas 0-1, Hurt 0-1, T. Harris 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds_Iowa St. 34 (McKay 10), Kansas St. 32 (Gipson, N. Johnson 9). Assists—Iowa St. 15 (Long 5), Kansas St. 18 (Edwards, N. Johnson 4). Total Fouls—Iowa St. 12, Kansas St. 13. A—12,528.