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Iowa State 78, Colorado 73

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Wayne Morgan knew only a win would do if
Iowa State was to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

"It was a critical, key game," the Iowa State coach said. "We
needed to have this game."

His Cyclones got the message and with Curtis Stinson scoring 14
of his 22 points in the second half and having seven assists, Iowa
State posted a 78-73 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

Will Blalock and Tasheed Carr added 20 points each for Iowa
State (17-10, 9-7 Big 12 Conference), a tournament bubble team with
a 71 RPI. The Cyclones shot 56 percent in the second half after a
dismal first half to win their second straight game.

"I feel we are already worthy of a bid," Stinson said. "I
think we won enough games to be in the NCAA, but we can't demand
anybody to give us that."

Andy Osborn had 14 points on four 3-pointers for Colorado
(13-15, 4-12), which cannot win a berth in the NCAA Tournament
without winning the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

The Buffaloes ended the regular season with a five-game losing
streak, finishing 11th in the Big 12 ahead of only Baylor.

Morgan issued an appeal to the Cyclones at the break to improve
their first half effort.

"I told them at halftime that this game was going to come down
to how big their heart was and how much guts they had and that's
all this team was about," Morgan said. "If they had any guts and
heart, there was 20 minutes left and I basically told them every
line drive we have run, every shooting drill we have done has
boiled down to these 20 minutes."

The Cyclones responded, forcing three turnovers and an airball
from Colorado on its first four possessions of the half. Blalock
countered with three outside jumpers for six points on the
offensive end.

Baskets by Damion Staple and Stinson put Iowa State ahead 46-41
with 13:17 left after Blalock's eight points helped erase a
five-point halftime deficit. Chris Copeland hit a 3-pointer to cut
the lead to 47-46 and Colorado stayed within striking distance as
Osborn hit two 3-pointers.

Marcus Hall's two free throws got the Buffaloes as close as
72-72 with 52 seconds left. Blalock sank four free throws and
Stinson two for Iowa State the rest of the way to seal the win as
Colorado missed its last four shots.

"We had to finish the game off and the kids played really well
down the stretch," Morgan said. "We made the plays we had to make
and made some key free throws and got some key rebounds and we had
only two turnovers in the second half."

The Cyclones shot 31 percent from the field and trailed 31-26 at
the half.

"We just couldn't make plays in the second half," Colorado
coach Ricardo Patton said. "Our 18 turnover hurt us and stalled
our offense.

The regular season couldn't have ended any sooner for Colorado.
The Buffaloes, who open Big 12 Tournament play against Texas,
matched the futility of 2000-01 when they won only six conference
games and had only two conference wins at home.