The No. 3 seed Iowa State Cyclones had a lot going against them coming into the NCAA tournament third round game against the No. 6 seed North Carolina Tar Heels after losing one of their best players, Georges Niang, in the second round of the East region.
Coach Fred Hoiberg had to have someone make up for the absence of Niang, and he got even more than he could have hoped for in DeAndre Kane. Kane — who had been the best player in the game despite foul problems for much of the second half — put the team on his shoulders in the final seconds and scored the game-winning layup with just 1.6 seconds remaining as the Cyclones defeated the Tar Heels, 85-83, on Sunday.
Kane had been a monster of a problem for North Carolina to handle all day and came out ready to lead. He was unstoppable from nearly everywhere and frustrated the Tar Heels from the beginning. It only seemed fitting Kane would oust coach Roy Williams‘ team from the tourney.
Kane finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He also added 10 rebounds and seven assists. His effort completely threw away a rather balanced game from North Carolina. The Tar Heels were led by Marcus Paige‘s 19 points, and four other players also had at least 11 points. Paige played strong, but it was his mistake near the end of the game that gave the ball back to Iowa State and into the hands of Kane.
Kane is an extremely versatile player who can attack the basket with ease. He grabs offensive rebounds and knows how to get into good position for clean put-backs. He is also unselfish in the Cyclones’ offense and rarely forces anything. Melvin Ejim was one of the beneficiaries as he scored 19 points.
While Iowa State has another tough task ahead of them with the Connecticut Huskies in the Sweet 16, Kane should give the Cyclone faithful hope their season could continue to extend.