Iowa State rolls to 76-58 win over Notre Dame

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
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It was just down right brutal.

Embarrassing, say Irish players Jack Cooley and Pat Connaughton.

Freshman forward Georges Niang matched a season high with 19 points and Iowa State, showing there's not just 3-pointers in its arsenal, dismantled Notre Dame 76-58 on Friday night in the NCAA tournament.

It's the 3rd worst loss for Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament history, topped only by a 33 point loss to Kentucky in 1958 and a 20 point loss to Washington in 2008.

Notre Dame turned the ball over 14 times in the 1st half, tying the most ever for an Irish team in a single half in 13 seasons under Mike Brey.

The 10th-seeded Cyclones (23-11) will play No. 2 seed Ohio State on Sunday. The Buckeyes advanced with a 95-70 thrashing of Iona.

Iowa State led the nation in 3-pointers this season, but with Niang posting up down low, the Cyclones were just as effective from short range in ousting the Fighting Irish (25-10), who played their final game as a member of the Big East and will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

Melvin Ejim added 17 points for Iowa State, which shot better than 70 percent for much of the second half.

Tom Knight scored 14 to lead the Fighting Irish, who walked off the floor looking as sickly green as the trim on their uniforms.

Iowa State made 12 of 14 shots to open the second half, taking any possible drama out of just the second matchup between the Midwest schools, and first since 1979.

Notre Dame must be hoping it won't see the Cyclones for another 34 years.

These guys from Ames can shoot the lights out.

The Irish made just two field goals in the final 11:19 of the first half, but they nearly escaped to their locker room down just 10 when they inexplicably watched as Will Clyburn dribble from one end to the other and hit a layup as the horn sounded to give Iowa State a 35-23 lead.

Niang's three-point play put the Cyclones ahead 47-31 early in the second, and Iowa State couldn't miss for several minutes while pushing its lead to 27.

The Cyclones outscored the Irish 21-7 over the last 11:40 to open a lead that seemed pretty comfortable given Notre Dame's offensive struggles. The Irish, who pride themselves on taking care of the ball under coach Mike Brey, had an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers in the first 20 minutes. That was only four short of their season high set in a five-overtime win against Louisville.

Some of that was Iowa State's defense, but a lot of it was just careless mistakes by the flailing Irish.

True to their nickname, the Cyclones can storm down the floor without warning and do some serious damage.

However, they got off to a slow start and were just 2 of 7 on 3-poiners when McGee knocked down a long one during an 11-2 run that put Iowa State ahead 25-19.

While the Cyclones got hot, Notre Dame was self-destructing. The Irish committed turnovers on five straight possessions, went 4:25 without even attempting a shot and didn't make a field goal for 7:10 before finally getting one to drop.

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