AMES, Iowa (AP) — A big night from stars Georges Niang and Monte Morris — and a big lift from Jameel McKay off the bench — helped Iowa State get back on track. Niang and Morris each scored 24 points as the No. 14 Cyclones beat 24th-ranked Texas 85-75 on Saturday in McKay's return from a two-game suspension.
AMES, Iowa (AP) — A big night from stars Georges Niang and Monte Morris — and a big lift from Jameel McKay off the bench — helped Iowa State get back on track.
Niang and Morris each scored 24 points as the No. 14 Cyclones beat 24th-ranked Texas 85-75 on Saturday in McKay's return from a two-game suspension.
Matt Thomas added 13 for Iowa State (18-7, 7-5 Big 12), which shot 67 percent in the second half and allowed just one point in the final 2:29 to hold off the Longhorns.
"We competed. We finished. We made the right plays down the stretch," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said.
The Cyclones faltered late in recent losses to West Virginia and Texas Tech. But Morris' step-back jumper with 1:17 left made it 81-74, and Niang's layup 35 seconds later sealed the win.
"I just feel like the last couple of games, we really didn't have the will to win," Niang said. "We used that motivation. ... We really wanted this win, and when you want it that bad you're going to pull it out."
Javan Felix had 13 of his 18 points in the second half to lead Texas (16-9, 7-5), which has dropped two straight.
"We didn't defend well enough," coach Shaka Smart said. "They have a way of making you look bad on defense."
McKay, who had been suspended for violating team rules, finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks — including one with less than 2 minutes left to set up Morris' key jumper.
"We can't be special without him," Prohm said of McKay.
A 6-2 stretch through the Big 12 — with losses at No. 6 Kansas and No. 3 Oklahoma — put Texas in position to contend for the Big 12 crown.
Iowa State, on the other hand, had dropped three of its previous four to effectively fall out of the race.
But the Longhorns are now also down two games to West Virginia and Kansas with six to play — and Tuesday's home game against the Mountaineers looms as a must-win for their conference title hopes.
Iowa State appeared to be on the verge of pulling away at multiple points early in the second half, most notably when McKay's alley-oop dunk made it 52-44. But two crucial 3s by Tevin Mack kept the Longhorns close, and Prince Ibeh's dunk tied it at 56.
McKay's second alley-oop of the night gave the Cyclones a 73-67 lead with just more than 5 minutes left.
Mack had 18 points off the bench for Texas, and Ibeh added 10 points with seven rebounds.
"I don't obsess over the standings," Smart said. "We're just trying to take care of business when we take the floor."
Texas: The Longhorns fell behind by as many as nine early in the first half, but a 12-0 run pulled them to 36-34 by halftime. ... Texas was 11 of 13 from the free throw line.
Iowa State: Morris matched his career high for points. ... The Cyclones started Deonte Burton over McKay, who had opened the first 22 games at center. Burton scored Iowa State's first six points and finished with 10. ... McKay was the only bench player to score for Iowa State.
Niang has scored at least 10 points in 34 straight games and will likely top 2,000 career points sometime next week. He has also scored at least 20 points 29 times.
Iowa State won despite an awful night from Abdel Nader, who shot 1 of 8 from the field. He did grab eight rebounds. ... Isaiah Taylor had nine points and eight assists for Texas but hit just three of his 14 field goal tries.
Texas hosts No. 10 West Virginia on Tuesday.
Iowa State plays at No. 21 Baylor on Tuesday.
Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter @LukeMeredithAP