Kansas St.-Iowa St. Preview
Iowa State made a statement in the Big 12 with a win over the 10-time defending conference champions over the weekend, but now the Cyclones will try to keep surging Kansas State from sending a message of its own.
The ninth-ranked Cyclones look to extend their home winning streak to 17 while the surprising Wildcats try to stay on top of the conference with a fifth straight win Tuesday night.
Following a 74-73 loss at then-No. 22 Baylor on Wednesday, the Cyclones (13-3, 3-1) bounced back with one of their biggest wins of the Fred Hoiberg era in Saturday’s 86-81 home victory over then-No. 9 Kansas.
Naz Long, Georges Niang and Dustin Hogue went a combined 8 for 16 from 3-point range as Iowa State held on after leading by 14 points with 6:26 left to record its first back-to-back wins over the Jayhawks in 14 years.
"To win 10 straight (league titles) is just an amazing accomplishment. In order for us to compete with them for the league championship, we had to win this game,” Hoiberg said. "We absolutely had to."
The Cyclones will try to stay focused as they look to continue a home win streak that dates to a 77-70 loss to Kansas on Jan. 13, 2014. The last current league member to beat them in Ames besides the Jayhawks was Kansas State in 2011.
The Wildcats (11-7, 4-1) had dropped 10 of 11 road games before a 66-63 overtime win over then-No. 16 Oklahoma on Jan. 10. Following a three-game skid, they’ve won four in a row by an average of just 4.3 points.
Nino Williams had 18 points and seven rebounds Saturday to help Kansas State rally from a 14-point deficit for a 63-61 home victory over Baylor. The senior forward had averaged 5.2 points over his previous five games.
"I thought it was a good win for our guys," coach Bruce Weber said. "Now all we can do is worry about this next one against Iowa State. We are going to head up to Ames on (Tuesday) and see if we can keep improving."
The Wildcats have won six in a row at home versus ranked opponents and snapped a four-game road skid in those matchups against the Sooners. They’ve dropped the last three visits to Hilton Coliseum by an average of 4.6 points.
Leading scorer Marcus Foster scored 17.3 per game as the Wildcats dropped two of the three meetings overall in 2013-14.
Kansas State will try to keep playing well defensively after limiting its last two opponents to 56.0 points per game on 36.0 percent shooting. The Wildcats have held 11 straight foes to 65 points or fewer for their best stretch since going 18 in a row in 1982-83.
They’ll have a difficult time extending that run against an Iowa State team which averages a league-high 80.3 points.
Long has totaled 39 points while making 14 of 20 shots – including eight 3-pointers – in the last two games after averaging 5.7 points on 30.4 percent shooting over his previous three.
Monte Morris has done it all for Iowa State with a combined 22 points, 19 assists and 14 rebounds in the past two games. The sophomore point guard also leads the nation with a 5.53 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Cyclones are struggling from the free-throw line, shooting 57.3 percent over the last seven games after making 77.5 percent in the first nine.