Sean Kilpatrick made all 16 of his free throw attempts and finished with a career-high 32 points to lead No. 22 Cincinnati past Iowa State, 78-70, in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Cincinnati (5-0) stayed undefeated by shooting 23-of-25 from the foul line, while Iowa State (4-1) fell for the first time in part because of its 12-of-21 free-throw performance.
Cashmere Wright and Titus Rubles added 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Bearcats, who will play Oregon in the championship game on Saturday.
"I knew it was going to be a tight game in the first half," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "Two teams playing a major opponent for the first time this season. Things were bound to get sloppy."
Tyrus McGee scored 22 points in 22 minutes to pace the Cyclones.
Cincinnati went nearly six minutes without hitting a field goal late in the second half, and its 16-point lead dwindled to three, 68-65, following a Melvin Ejim layup with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
"We cut our turnovers in half, from 12 to six, and that's what allowed us to make that (second-half) comeback," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Rubles ended the drought -- and Iowa State's 12-2 run -- with a mid-range jumper, and after Georges Niang missed two free throws for the Cyclones, Kilpatrick made two at the stripe with 1:59 to go following a hard foul.
Will Clyburn kept Iowa State close with a 3-pointer, but after trading turnovers, Kilpatrick was fouled away from the basket with 54.8 seconds on the clock and sank both free throws for a 74-68 advantage.
Korie Lucious put in a layup to cut the deficit to four, but Cincinnati went 4-of-4 from the foul line down the stretch.
Despite committing 12 turnovers in the first half, the Cyclones never trailed by more than six and were in a 35-35 tie at halftime.
But they missed their first six shots after the break, and a 21-6 run by the Bearcats opened up a 16-point lead. Kilpatrick scored eight during the flurry, including a pull-up 3-pointer in transition for a 58-42 cushion with just over 12 minutes to play.
Kilpatrick, a junior, scored a career-high for the second time in three games. He netted 29 points in a 93-39 win over North Carolina A&T on Nov. 18 ... Lucious accounted for six of Iowa State's 18 turnovers and scored 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting ... Kilpatrick also recorded five steals.