Big 12 Basketball

Iowa State Defeats No. 1 North Carolina, 70-65

T.J. Otzelberger

The Iowa State Cyclones improved to 5-0 and unseated the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels with a 70-65 win on Friday at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore.

The Cyclones (5-0) have not lost a non-conference game under coach T.J. Otzelberger since he took over the program last year. It’s also the third time Iowa State has beaten the nation’s No. 1 team, and the first time the Cyclones have pulled it off against a non-conference opponent.

The Cyclones previously beat Kansas and Oklahoma when those two teams were No. 1.


North Carolina started the season as the nation’s No. 1 team, on the strength of reaching the NCAA Tournament championship game before losing to Kansas.

Iowa State guard Caleb Grill had a huge game for the Cyclones, as he scored 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including seven 3-pointers. Jaren Holmes added 22 points. Robert Jones added 10 points as the Cyclones shot 44 percent from the floor, including 45 percent from the 3-point line.

R.J. Davis led the Tar Heels with 15 points. Last year’s tournament star, Armando Bacot, had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Caleb Love added 12 points. While the Tar Heels also shot 44 percent from the field, they shot 16.7 percent from the 3-point line.

The Cyclones, currently unranked, rode a pair of wins over ranked teams in a Thanksgiving weekend tournament into the AP Top 25 last year. They could do it again this year. The new AP Poll comes out on Monday.  

The Cyclones will play in the final of the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday night against either Alabama or UConn. The Cyclones will play after the Iowa State women, who will play North Carolina in the women’s final before the men’s final.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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