KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Monte Morris scored 17 points, Deonte Burton and Matt Thomas helped him deal with West Virginia’s attacking defense, and No. 23 Iowa State beat the No. 11 Mountaineers 80-74 on Saturday night for the Cyclones’ third Big 12 Tournament title in four years.
Burton had 16 points and Thomas finished with 12 for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (23-10), who will enter the NCAA Tournament as one of the nation’s hottest teams. They’ve won nine of their last 10 games, with their only loss during that stretch coming a week ago in Morgantown.
They avenged that defeat in a big way at the Sprint Center.
Iowa State has never lost in four appearances in the Big 12 title game, while the Mountaineers (26-8) remain without a conference tournament title of any kind since winning the Big East in 2010.
Jevon Carter had 18 points for West Virginia, which will no doubt rue its 8-for-17 shooting from the foul line. Esa Ahmad, Daxter Miles Jr. and Elijah Macon finished with 10 points apiece.
The No. 2-seeded Mountaineers had been a scourge for the Cyclones the past two years, winning the last four meetings in relatively easy fashion. But the hallmark of those games had been their ability to get easy baskets against an Iowa State team that doesn’t always play defense.
There were no easy buckets Saturday night.
Iowa State threw down its own half-court press against Press Virginia, and caused 10 first-half turnovers that gave the sea of red inside Sprint Center reason to stand from its seats.
The biggest roars from the Cyclones faithful came late in the half, when Bowie came off the bench to score 10 points in quick succession. He checked out to a standing ovation, and Morris took over from there, hitting Iowa State’s final three baskets of the half for a 35-29 lead.
After drilling a long 3 as time expired, Morris rode an imaginary horse off to the locker room.
The whooping and hollering continued in the second half, when Burton hit a pair of 3s and Thomas hit another, pushing Iowa State’s lead to 10. And that caused tempers to boil over on the West Virginia bench, where coach Bob Huggins was given a technical foul with 15:46 to play.
Thomas hit both of the foul shots as the lead stretched to 50-38.
The Mountaineers eventually turned to the 1-3-1 zone that caused Kansas State all kinds of trouble in the semifinals. But the ball-handling of Morris, Burton and Co. allowed the Cyclones to deal with the frequent trapping attempts, and that created enough open looks to keep West Virginia at bay.
As chants of “I-S-U!” rattled the building, Iowa State coach Steve Prohm allowed Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long to check out with seconds left, the pair of seniors relishing in the moment.
Fellow seniors Morris and Burton joined the jubilant celebration as the clock hit zero.
Iowa State gave Prohm his first Big 12 Tournament title after he took over for Fred Hoiberg, the popular former player and coach who guided the Cyclones to championships in 2014 and `15.
West Virginia lost despite hitting eight 3-pointers and shooting 51.8 percent from the field in part because its defense let it down. Iowa State is 16-0 when scoring at least 80 this season.
Both teams settle in to learn their NCAA Tournament seeds on Sunday.
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