AMES, Iowa — With the NCAA tournament just about a month away, teams are going to lean on their stars more than ever.
Iowa State standouts Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang showed why the Cyclones could be in great shape come March.
Ejim scored 25 points, DeAndre Kane added 22 and Niang had 20 to help No. 17 Iowa State beat 19th-ranked Texas 85-76 on Tuesday night for its fifth victory in six games.
The trio shot 57 percent from the floor to lead the Cyclones (20-5, 8-5 Big 12), who became the third-fastest team to 20 wins in school history.
“It’s obviously important that your key guys are playing well for you,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Even though those guys all scored over 20, I think it was a total team effort.”
Iowa State outscored Texas 25-12 late in the second half to pull away and move within a game of the second-place Longhorns in the Big 12.
The Cyclones were keyed by Ejim, who had his second-best scoring game of the season, while Kane chipped in with five assists and zero turnovers and Niang helped keep Cameron Ridley without a field goal.
Isaiah Taylor had 26 points to lead the Longhorns (20-6, 9-4), who have followed up a seven-game winning streak by splitting their past four.