Wednesday February 21st, 2024 2:47PM

Iowa State beats nation's final undefeated team, No. 2 Houston, 57-53

By The Associated Press

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State knocked off the nation's final unbeaten team on Tuesday night and delivered a message in the process.

Tamin Lipsey scored 14 points, freshman Milan Momcilovic made a baseline jumper with 30.2 seconds left and Iowa State beat No. 2 Houston 57-53.

The Cyclones (12-3, 1-1 Big 12) entered the game with the 284th-toughest schedule, and they were eager to quiet critics who had said their record is misleading.

“We're a young team, we're learning every game," Lipsey said. “But we're going to come out and fight every game no matter who we're playing, no matter where we're playing. Just don't doubt us.”

Iowa State secured its seventh win against a top-10 opponent in the last two seasons — most in Division I. Houston (14-1, 1-1) had a nation's-best 12-game road winning streak snapped in the program's first Big 12 road contest.

No. 1 Purdue lost 88-72 to Nebraska on Tuesday, making it the first time since Feb. 26, 2022 when the No. 1 and No. 2 team lost on the same day during the regular season. That year it was Gonzaga and Arizona that went down. It is the eighth time since the 2009-2010 season that the top two teams have lost on the same day in the regular season.

ISU forward Hason Ward made two free throws with 1:20 remaining, but he was whistled for a lane violation on the second free throw to keep the lead at 53-51.

Jamal Shead split a double team and made a jumper with 55.9 seconds left to tie it at 53-all.

After an Iowa State timeout, Momcilovic spun away from a double team and sank a jumper from a difficult angle for a 55-53 lead. L.J. Cryer’s 3-pointer hit hard off the backboard and Momcilovic was fouled at 10.7 before making two free throws for a four-point lead.

Momcilovic finished with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting for Iowa State. His go-ahead shot was his first basket of the second half.

“We work on that every day and practice that last-second shot,” Momcilovic said. “Obviously, the fade-away I do a lot, so it’s comfortable. They came with a double and I shot right over the smaller defender. It’s a shot I work on every day.”

Ward scored nine points off the bench on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field.

Emanuel Sharp scored 20 points, reaching the mark for the fourth time this season, for Houston. Shead added 14 points, becoming the 51st player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Cryer, averaging a team-high 17.1 points per game, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with five points.

Iowa State scored the opening 14 points of the game as Houston had five missed shots and four turnovers. Sharp sank a 3-pointer from the wing with 14:02 remaining for Houston’s first points of the game. Sharp also made Houston’s second field goal, another 3-pointer, at 10:51.

Houston trailed at halftime, 31-21, for the first time this season after scoring its fewest points in any half. Iowa State scored 15 points off of 12 turnovers against a Houston team averaging just 9.1 turnovers per game. The Cougars were just 6-of-20 shooting (30%) in the first half, including 4 of 13 from distance. Sharp scored 11 of Houston’s first-half points.

Iowa State missed nine straight shots, going scoreless for over six minutes in the second half. Houston capitalized when Shead made a jumper from the free-throw line with 3:17 remaining for their first lead of the game at 51-50.

The Cougars only led for 32 seconds.

“I don’t know if it was as much Iowa State. It was us,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We were just, I don’t know what. I wish I did.”

T.J. Otzelberger became the first Iowa State head coach to beat a team ranked No. 1 (North Carolina) and No. 2 (Houston) in the AP poll.

A GUY CAN DREAM

Asked if he had dreamed of hitting a winning shot late in the game, Momcilovic said he had.

“It's cool, but then actually having it happen, that's surreal — especially versus the No. 2 team in the country. So that's an amazing feeling.”

UP NEXT

Houston: Visits TCU on Saturday.

Iowa State: Hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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