AMES - Iowa State showed it might not be a pushover in the Big 12 after all. Oklahoma State got a victory in a harsh environment before its big game with Kansas.
Both teams have something to take from No. 6 Oklahoma State's 69-66 victory at Iowa State on Saturday. Iowa State just wishes it could have taken a little more.
"It's very encouraging because we were close," said Iowa State's Jake Sullivan, the only returning starter from last season's Big 12 championship team. "It's encouraging all year that we've been close. What's disappointing is all the games we could have won."
Saturday was one of them.
The Cyclones led by seven points in the first half. They were shooting close to 60 percent against the best defensive team in the league. Then, late in the first half, Oklahoma State turned up the defensive pressure.
Victor Williams set the tone with two steals as OSU forced five straight turnovers, which produced 10 straight points. The surge gave the Cowboys a 36-30 lead and they led the rest of way, though they weren't assured of winning until Williams thwarted Iowa State's attempt for a last-second shot.
"Unfortunately, we didn't middle the game," Iowa State's Shane Power said. "We started it well and we finished it well, but we didn't middle it well."
Oklahoma State had to overcame Tyray Pearson's career-high 30 points for Iowa State and its own foul troubles to pull it out. Ivan McFarlin, who led OSU with 16 points, and 6-foot-10 Fredrik Jonzen both spent time on the bench in the second half after getting their fourth foul guarding Pearson.
Each played only 24 minutes.
"We've been through that before," McFarlin said. "Against Providence we had a lot of players in foul trouble, but we stuck together. Coach told us to be patient and some players stepped up down the stretch.