Cyclones get out with title
A late-night flight back to the mainland meant the Iowa State Cyclones couldn't stick around very long following last night's championship game in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.
Ahmet Gueye, Hawaii; Clifton Lee, Northwestern State; Curtis Stinson, Iowa State; Michael Harrison, Colorado State; Chris Stephens, Oregon State
Most Outstanding Player: Will Blalock, Iowa State
But before rushing off, the Cyclones picked up the tournament trophy with an 87-80 win over Colorado State at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"We showed great intensity tonight. I thought our kids played very hard and I'm proud of them," Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan said.
Iowa State needed two extra periods to edge Northwestern State in the semifinals on Thursday. But the Cyclones took control early against Colorado State and withstood a 3-point barrage by the Rams in the final minutes to secure the championship.
The Cyclones' defensive pressure contributed to 26 Colorado State turnovers, which they converted into 38 points, to build a controlling lead.
Iowa State's guard combo of Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock, regarded as one of the best backcourt tandems in the country, again set the tone for the Cyclones.
Stinson scored 22 points and had five assists to lead the Cyclones. Blalock, named the tournament's most outstanding player, finished with 11 points and eight assists.
Rahshon Clark and Jiri Hubalek accounted for 15 points each for Iowa State.
CSU forward Michael Harrison led four Rams in double figures with 25 points on eight-of-nine shooting from the field and was also named to the all-tournament team. Stephan Gilling hit four 3-pointers to finish with 14 points.
The Cyclones forced the Rams into 14 first-half turnovers and bolted out to a 25-9 lead less than 9 minutes into the game.
"We knew we had to throw that first punch in the first half and in the beginning of the second half," Blalock said. "We had to throw that first punch or it would have been a lot tighter for us."
Colorado State answered with an 11-3 run to close to within eight with 5:48 left. But Stinson drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send Iowa State into halftime with a 43-31 lead.
The Cyclones kept the pressure on in the second half and went up 52-35 on Hubalek's layup with 16 minutes left.
CSU closed to within eight when Micheal Morris threw down a reverse dunk off a lob, and Harrison scored on a layup and drove for a slam of his own.
But Iowa State pulled away again and led 65-50 after Stinson converted a three-point play and scored on a layup off a steal by Clark with less than 9 minutes left.
CSU made another push late in the game, hitting five 3-pointers over a span of 80 seconds. Andrew Patterson knocked down three in the run, the third cutting the deficit to 79-72 with 1:30 left.
But CSU would get no closer than six as the Cyclones were able to hit free throws down the stretch.