Morris leads No. 23 Iowa St past Cowboys in Big 12 tourney

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Monte Morris had the ball in his hands with Iowa State’s victory assured, knowing he was only an assist shy of the second triple-double in the history of the Big 12 Tournament.

The senior star held the ball until teammate Naz Mitrou-Long came over and took it so he’d get the turnover instead when the shot clock ran out.

The moment at the conclusion of the No. 23 Cyclone’s 92-83 victory over Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals Thursday was evidence of two things: How selfless and mature Morris has become during his career in Ames, and how respected he is by Mitrou-Long and the rest of his teammates.

“People were telling me about the triple-double,” said Morris, who had 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, “but you can play for stats or you can play for the win.”

Well, the win pushed the Cyclones (21-10) into a semifinal matchup with either No. 1 Kansas or TCU on Friday night.

As for the stats? They had some gaudy ones, too.

Deonte Burton finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mitrou-Long hit three of the Cyclones’ 12 3-pointers and had 14 points. Darrell Bowie and Matt Thomas added 13 points apiece.

“They were terrific,” first-year Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood said. “They were the better team.”

Sophomore guard Jawun Evans did everything he could to keep the Cowboys (21-11) afloat, pouring in 29 points and handing out four assists. Backcourt mate Jeffrey Carroll added 21 points and Phil Forte had 12, but not even that offensive output was enough to keep pace with the Cyclones.

The matchup to kick-off the quarterfinals was entertaining from start to finish, the shot clock rarely a factor as the teams raced up and down the floor during a frenetic 40 minutes.

Iowa State was clinging to a 62-57 lead with about 10 minutes left when the intensity finally boiled over. Morris was tied up near midcourt and several players got into a shoving match, the Cowboys’ Brandon Averette and the Cyclones’ Donovan Jackson getting hit with technical fouls.

The Cyclones retained possession and Morris quickly scored, beginning a brief charge that gave the 2014 and ’15 tournament champions a cushion that they were never in danger of losing.

“We spent the majority of the week working on the defensive end, but give them credit,” Underwood said. “Monte Morris, an assist away from a triple-double? Pretty effective day at the office.”

Indeed, the only question down the stretch was whether Morris would get one more assist.

He had the ball in his hands on a couple of possessions, and a couple fans seated courtside were aware of his stat line, yelling for him to get one more assist. But the Cowboys often were quick to foul and Morris wound up short of his second career triple-double. Texas Tech’s Kasib Powell had the only one in Big 12 Tournament play against Texas in 2003.

“I love the kid,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm, adding he was glad the triple-double didn’t happen on a meaningless basket. “I don’t think he’d have wanted it that way. I wouldn’t have.”

COUSY SNUB

Morris was not among the 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the nation’s top point guard. And that certainly caught Prohm’s attention. “I don’t know what tape they’re watching,” he said, “that he’s not one of the top guards in the country. I’m going to make my own award for him at the end of the season. You couldn’t have a better representative.”

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma State had won 10 of its last 13 games after losing six straight to start Big 12 play, and that should be enough to get the Cowboys into the NCAA Tournament. But the biggest strike against them is their record against Top 25 foes, which dropped to 1-8. “We put ourselves in a place to play in the tournament and hopefully get a good seed,” the Cowboys’ Leyton Hammonds said. “Going to be exciting.”

Iowa State relied on its usual barrage of 3-pointers but also a massive crowd advantage. Cyclones fans always paint the Sprint Center red during the tournament, even for an early tipoff.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma State awaits its fate on Selection Sunday.

Iowa State prepares for the semifinals on Friday night. The Cyclones split the season series with Kansas and with TCU.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.