Iowa State’s incredible turnaround season came to an end with a 70-56 Sweet 16 loss to the Miami Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Chicago.
Miami (FL) will make its first Elite Eight appearance in program history on Sunday against Kansas, which beat Providence earlier on Friday. The Hurricanes (26-7) are coached by Jim Larranaga, who led Georgia Mason to the Final Four in 2006.
Iowa State (22-13) saw its season come to an end, but the Cyclones put together one of the biggest turnaround seasons in NCAA history. No team had won as few games as Iowa State won last season (two) and reached the Sweet 16 the following year. First-year Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger did it with a raft of transfers, including All-Big 12 First-Team guard Izaiah Brockington and Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyrese Hunter.
The Cyclones were trying to reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 2000.
Iowa State, a No. 11 seed, and Miami, a No. 10 seed, marked the fifth time that two double-digit seeds met in the Sweet 16.
Iowa State and Miami played a close first half, with the Hurricanes leading 32-29. But, as the second half wore on, the Cyclones had difficulty maintaining possession on offense and had no answer for Miami guard Kameron McGusty.
McGusty played his first two seasons at Oklahoma before transferring to Miami and he was averaging 17.5 points per game entering Friday’s game. He finished with 27 points, including four 3-pointers, along with six rebounds. He helped the Hurricanes build a 46-37 lead after a 10-2 run midway through the second half.
McGusty’s 27 points was the most by a Miami player in 13 seasons.
From there, the Hurricanes maintained the lead and didn’t allow the Cyclones to get any momentum on offense. Jordan Miller had 16 points and Sam Waardenburg had 13 points.
The Cyclones had difficulty generating offense from the 3-point line, which proved to be part of their undoing. The Cyclones shot 4-of-22 from the arc, while Miami shot 9-of-26. Iowa State’s defense was able to force 14 Hurricane turnovers, but Iowa State had 18 turnovers of their own. Miami turned those turnovers into 14 points.
Gabe Kalscheur, who came off the bench instead of starting due to a ‘book error,’ ended up with 13 points to lead the Cyclones, along with Hunter. Brockington added 11 points. Iowa State led for just 16 seconds in the game.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.