Iowa St. clinches share of championship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 2, 2000

The Associated Press

The last time Iowa State won a conference title, the league was known as the Big Six.

Thursday, March 02, 2000

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The last time Iowa State won a conference title, the league was known as the Big Six. The membership has doubled in the last 55 years, and finally, the Cyclones will at least share another crown.

Not bad for a team that finished 15-15 last season.

”It’s really one of the stories of the decade,” Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said Wednesday night after the 10th-ranked Cyclones beat Texas Tech 87-79 to clinch at least a tie for the Big 12 title. ”I don’t know that people understand all that this group has done.

”It’s quite a feat for a team that was struggling all of last season.”

Iowa State (25-4, 13-2), which holds a one-game lead over Texas and Oklahoma State, can win the league outright with a victory over Baylor on Saturday.

”We don’t want to share it,” Cyclones guard Stevie Johnson said of the school’s first title since winning the Big Six in 1945.

Marcus Fizer had 35 points for the Cyclones, who trailed 64-61, then went on an 11-0 run.

Michael Nurse hit a 3-pointer with 6:35 to play to tie the game 64-64, and Iowa State took the lead for good on an inside basket by Steve Johnson with 6:06 left. Fizer’s tip-in with 4:50 capped the run and gave the Cyclones their biggest lead, 72-64.

James Ware’s 3-pointer with 2:16 left brought the Red Raiders (12-14, 3-12) to 76-73, but Fizer and Johnson both scored to make it 80-73.

Iowa State made seven free throws over the final 30 seconds to seal the win and a part of the Big 12 title.

”It feels really good,” Fizer said. ”I haven’t really sat down and thought about it and celebrated it too much because it’s not over. It’s not outright – not yet.”

Johnson finished with 19 points, while Nurse had 13.

Rayford Young led Tech with 36 points on 13-for-21 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and had seven assists.

”I wanted to put the game on my shoulder like I did against Kansas,” Young said. ”But I went cold in the second half and Fizer put it to us.”

No. 4 Duke 92, Clemson 78

Shane Battier scored 26 points, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, and Chris Carrawell added 19 points as the Blue Devils (23-4, 14-1) won their 19th straight Atlantic Coast Conference road game. Will Solomon, the ACC’s leading scorer at 20.6 points a game, had 26 points for the Tigers (10-18, 4-11), who lost their eighth straight to Duke.

No. 8 Florida 87, South Carolina 67

Mike Miller had 15 points and Teddy Dupay added 14, all in the second half, as the Gators (23-5, 12-3) clinched at least a share of the Southeastern Conference title. Jamel Bradley had 15 points for the visiting Gamecocks (12-16, 4-11).

No. 9 Syracuse 73, Notre Dame 71

Ryan Blackwell scored 24 points and the Orangemen (24-3, 13-2) clinched at least a share of the Big East title. Troy Murphy had 20 points for the Fighting Irish (16-13, 7-8), who trailed 70-68 with 44 seconds left. But the comeback was thwarted when the home crowd was assessed a technical foul with 8.8 seconds to play for throwing objects on the court after they were warned by coach Matt Doherty over the loudspeaker earlier in the half. Syracuse made three of six free throws – two by Blackwell – to offset a final 3-pointer by Murphy.

No. 11 Tennessee 73, Arkansas 66

Tony Harris scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half as the Volunteers (23-5, 11-4 SEC) set a school record for victories, breaking a mark set in 1976-77. Freshman Joe Johnson had 21 points for the visiting Razorbacks (14-14, 6-9).

No. 12 LSU 55, No. 19 Auburn 53

Jabari Smith’s three-point play with 16 seconds to play gave LSU (24-4, 11-4) its first Southeastern Conference West Division title. Mack McGadney had 17 points for Auburn (21-7, 9-6), which had its 30-game home winning streak snapped as the defending conference champions played without star forward Chris Porter, suspended Sunday for taking $2,500 from a sports agent.

No. 13 Oklahoma St. 96, Colorado 60

Desmond Mason scored 19 of his 29 points in the first half as the Cowboys (23-4, 12-3 Big 12) took control early and cruised. Jaquay Walls had 14 points for the Buffaloes (16-12, 6-9), who lost in Stillwater for the 18th straight time.

No. 17 Maryland 85, Florida St. 70

Terence Morris had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Steve Blake scored a career-high 17 points and had 10 assists as the Terrapins (22-7, 11-4) won their ninth straight ACC game. Damous Anderson scored 22 points for the Seminoles (11-15, 6-9), who have lost eight straight to Maryland and seven in a row at Cole Field House.

No. 21 Oklahoma 77, Texas A&M 59

Eduardo Najera scored 20 points for the visiting Sooners (23-5, 11-4 Big 12), who are 13-1 against Texas A&M. Bernard King had 15 points for the Aggies (7-19, 3-12), who have lost nine of 10.