TCU-Iowa St. Preview
While Iowa State has recaptured some of its early-season magic, coach Fred Hoiberg realizes his squad can't afford to take anything for granted in the Big 12.
The 16th-ranked Cyclones hope to avoid a letdown as they go for their third straight win Saturday against a visiting TCU team still seeking its first league victory.
Iowa State (17-4, 5-4) has had a few days to rest since its fourth consecutive meeting with a ranked opponent ended with a dramatic 98-97 triple-overtime win at No. 19 Oklahoma State on Monday.
DeAndre Kane finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, Melvin Ejim had 22 points and 13 boards, and Georges Niang scored 17 before fouling out as the Cyclones snapped an 18-game losing streak in Stillwater.
Following a three-game losing streak, Iowa State bounced back with home wins over then-No. 22 Kansas State and then-No. 23 Oklahoma before knocking off the Cowboys. The lone defeat during the recent stretch was a 92-81 loss at then-No. 6 Kansas on Jan. 29.
"We've played an extremely difficult stretch but we're going to have nine more games that are going to be extremely difficult," Hoiberg said. "There are no days off in this league, and if you do take a day off you're probably not going to win."
Iowa State will try to stay focused as it takes on league-worst TCU (9-12, 0-9), which is on its longest losing streak since a 13-game skid late in the 2010-2011 season.
The Horned Frogs have lost nine straight by an average of 14.8 points, but they've been within 10 at the half in six of those contests.
They gave No. 15 Texas everything it could handle Tuesday before the visiting Longhorns made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:41 remaining on the way to a 59-54 victory.
Amric Fields led TCU with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Kyan Anderson added 12 points and seven assists, but Texas ourebounded the Horned Frogs 56-25 and matched their overall total with 25 offensive boards.
While the Cyclones rank near the bottom of the Big 12 with a plus-0.3 rebounding margin, TCU is far behind the rest of the league in that category at minus-6.7.
"That's where the game was right there," Fields said. "We're not satisfied with keeping people close. We feel we're tougher than what we show, but we've just got to figure it out."
Anderson averages a team-best 15.1 points for the Horned Frogs, who own the conference's worst offense with 65.0 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting.
With Ejim averaging a league-best 18.3 points, Kane at 16.5 and Niang at 16.4, the Cyclones - 10-1 at Hilton Coliseum - lead the Big 12 in scoring at 85.1 per game and are one of just two schools nationally with three players averaging at least 16.
They've averaged 85.3 points and hit 37.9 percent from 3-point range over their last four games after scoring 76.0 per game and shooting 25.3 percent from beyond the arc during their three-game slide.
Iowa State looks to continue that trend against a TCU team that limited Texas to a season-low 31.0 field-goal percentage and has held opponents to 6-of-34 (17.6 percent) shooting from long range over its last two games.
The Cyclones have won five of eight all-time matchups after taking both meetings last season. Niang led the way with 19 points in an 87-53 home victory on Feb. 16, 2013.