The Iowa State Cyclones beat the LSU Tigers, 59-54, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee, Wis., on Friday night.
The No. 11 seed Cyclones (21-12) move on to face either Wisconsin or Colgate in the second round on Sunday as part of action in the Midwest Region.
And it was the hometown freshman that led the Cyclones.
Tyrese Hunter, who played his high school ball at nearby Racine, finished the game with 23 points. But none were bigger than the last of the seven 3-pointers he hit in the game.
LSU cut Iowa State’s lead to 56-54 with 47 seconds left on a layup. The Tigers decided to play defense and force a stop. Hunter ended up with the ball as the shot clock ran down and he drained a long 3-pointer from the right wing to give Iowa State a five-point lead with 19 seconds left.
LSU took a time out, but their next possession ended with Cyclones guard Izaiah Brockington stealing the ball from Tigers guard Xavier Pinson.
It was appropriate that Brockington was involved, too. The Penn State transfer also had a huge game, scoring 19 points and grabbing four rebounds.
But it was Hunter that played the starring role, but not after dodging some calls before the game.
Being a hometown boy, lots of folks wanted tickets.
“Thousands. Yeah, I really couldn’t even tell you,” Hunter said. “It was a lot though. Phone went on DND (do not disturb).”
Along with Hunter being from Racine and Cyclones head coach T.J. Otzelberger being from Milwaukee, there was another external force in this game. LSU fired its head coach, Will Wade, just hours before the Tigers learned they were going to the NCAA Tournament due to an NCAA investigation. Assistant coach Kevin Nickelberry took over the Tigers for the tournament.
No one was sure how LSU would play, but the No. 6 seed Tigers rebounded from a 19-point first half to give the Cyclones a run in the second half. Tari Eason, the SEC Sixth Man of the Year, led with 18 points, while Darius Days added 14 points.
Iowa State scored 22 points off of LSU’s 19 turnovers. Iowa State also had 15 steals.
The magical season for the Cyclones continued. The Cyclones won two games last season. Now, they’re plus-19 for the season. The win was also Iowa State’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2017.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.