Iowa St.-Oklahoma Preview
Iowa State has one of the nation's top offenses and is also quite capable of slowing down opponents.
Oklahoma's offense is just as explosive, but its defense has been a major liability.
Seeking to build on a signature victory, the ninth-ranked Cyclones look to extend the longest winning streak in school history when they visit the defensively challenged Sooners on Saturday.
Iowa State (14-0, 2-0 Big 12) established the program's longest win streak by rolling past No. 7 Baylor, 87-72 on Tuesday. The Cyclones shot 54.8 percent and made 10 of 25 3-pointers en route to the second-largest margin of victory over a top 10 team in program history.
"We just set the mark for the best start in school history at 14-0 and that's a great sign that these guys aren't satisfied with that," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "There's a lot of work to do. These guys know that."
The Cyclones, one of five undefeated teams in the country, don't have much work to do offensively, with three players averaging at least 15.0 points. Senior Melvin Ejim averages a team-best 17.8, and sophomore forward Georges Niang is scoring 18.3 per game in his last eight, but DeAndre Kane is the driving force behind the offense.
Kane is averaging 16.1 points on 52.1 percent shooting to go with 7.1 rebounds and a team-high 6.3 assists. The senior transfer from Marshall had a season-high 30 points with nine assists, eight rebounds and five steals against the Bears.
"He's a mismatch nightmare out there, when you have a guy who is 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, strong as an ox and he's experienced," Hoiberg said. "He's a smart player. When he gets the ball down there and we're spaced right, somebody's going to get an open shot. Or if they don't double team him, he's going to get his shot and he's going to take advantage of that."
Iowa State is ranked sixth nationally in scoring, averaging 87.0 points - the same mark as Oklahoma (12-3, 1-1). But whereas the Cyclones are allowing an average of 67.5 points, the Sooners give up a conference-worst 79.1 - 7.2 more than the next-closest team.
They allowed a Kansas team which shot 29.8 percent in a 61-57 loss to San Diego State on Sunday to hit 54.7 percent against them four days later. Oklahoma fell 90-83, the third straight game it surrendered at least 85 points.
"This club has been pretty consistent on the offensive end," coach Lon Kruger said. "They've done a good job of passing the ball and making plays for each other. Yet, we've got to figure out something different defensively, in terms of getting more stops."
Cameron Clark matched his career high with 32 points, but the conference's leading scorer realizes his team must put more emphasis on defense. The Sooners are 1-3 when he has more than 25 points, allowing an average of 92.0 in those games.
"It is very frustrating," said Clark, who averages 18.7 points. "We just have to go back to the drawing board. It all starts on defense. We just have to come together as a group and figure out what it is we are not doing and get better at it."
The Cyclones took two of three from the Sooners last season, including a 73-66 victory in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. Ejim had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and he's averaging 15.8 points and 9.7 boards in six career matchups.