No. 9 Iowa State rallies to beat 25th-ranked Kansas State

National Sports

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw hit a 3-pointer with four seconds to play to lift No. 9 Iowa State over 25th-ranked Kansas State 73-70 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) trailed most of the game and rallied after being down by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter.

”We thought we could get a three, but you don’t count on a bank shot,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. ”Our kids were really resilient and played a great fourth quarter. The last four minutes were really good for our team.”

It was Iowa State’s first lead since they were up 3-2 in the first quarter. They went 6-for-7 from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter.

Kansas State (13-3, 3-1) didn’t get a shot off on their last possession and gave the Wildcats their first loss of the season at home.

”I think a win like can give our team a sense that when things are bad we can still find a away,” Fennelly said. ”We talk about finding a way or finding an excuse and our kids found a way. I’m really happy for our kids and these road wins are so special.”

The Wildcats were led by Ayoka Lee who scored 38 points and had 11 rebounds. It was one of her best performances as a Wildcat going 18-for-29 from the field and recorded her 11th double-double of the season. She also broke her record for most points scored in a conference game.

”I think we got the ball inside when we needed to,” Lee said. ”I think you have to credit the guards for their ability to get it inside.

Kansas State dominated inside the paint outscoring the Cyclones 54-24 but Iowa State made 12 3’s compared to only four for the Wildcats.

”It was a heck of a basketball game,” Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie said. ”It really hurts when you have the lead we had, but the shot the ball well from three. You know your lead’s not safe and it really comes down to us not executing well in the last five minutes of the game.”

Ashley Joens scored 27 points, Lexi Donarski added 13 and Espenmiller-McGraw had 12 including the game winner. Iowa State led for 18 seconds in the entire game.

”Ashley and Ayoka are such great leaders of the teams, the schools and the programs and both of them played at an extremely high level tonight,” Fennelly said.

It’s the first time since 2005 that the Cyclones are starting the conference play 4-0.

BIG PICTURE

Iowa State: It wasn’t the prettiest game for the Cyclones, but they found a way to beat one of the best Big 12 teams on the road and stay undefeated in conference play.

Kansas State: This one will sting for the Wildcats who led by double figures in the fourth quarter. Lee is a special player and although they suffered a loss, it’s one of her best of the season so far.

UP NEXT

Iowa State goes to Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Kansas State travels to Texas Tech on Saturday.

For more AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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