The Big 12 tournament champions found themselves in an early struggle with a program making its first NCAA tournament appearance in just its third year as a full-time Division I program. But the Cyclones' quickness and balance eventually took over.
Iowa State (27-7) had four players score in double figures. Niang's two 3-pointers early in the second half keyed Iowa State's run that put the game away.
Jeremy Ingram scored 28 for North Carolina Central (28-6), which came in on a 20-game win streak and won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.