No. 24 Iowa St. looks to keep rolling vs. Oklahoma St.
No. 24 Iowa State rejoined The Associated Press Top 25 poll this week on the strength of its upset win over No. 11 Baylor.
The Cyclones have a chance to add to their postseason resume on Tuesday when Oklahoma State, another team out of the Big 12 expecting to be in the NCAA Tournament field, visits Hilton Coliseum.
Senior guard Deonte Burton banked in a 3-pointer from straight-away with just over a minute left to help Iowa State knock off Baylor 72-69 on Saturday. It was the Cyclones’ sixth win in their last seven games, a stretch that began with a victory at No. 1 Kansas.
Article continues below ...
Iowa State moved back into the rankings after an 11-week absence and appears to be in comfortable position to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Beating Oklahoma State and winning on the road at No. 10 West Virginia on Friday would lock up the second seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
The Cowboys are hot, too, though, and arrive in Ames, Iowa having won 10 of 11.
“I think we’re a really good basketball team,” Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood told reporters Saturday. “I think there’s still room to improve. I don’t think you do what we’ve done, in this league, without being a good basketball team.”
Oklahoma State (20-7, 9-7 Big 12) rolled over Texas Tech 80-63 on Saturday, behind 17 points from Jeffrey Carroll, a playmaking 6-6 junior guard. He is one of three Cowboys averaging double figures in points.
Dynamic sophomore point guard Jawun Evans leads Oklahoma State in scoring (18.2 points per game) and assists (6.0). The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in scoring offense, putting up 85.7 points per game.
Iowa State (19-9, 11-5 Big 12) can fill it up, too. The Cyclones are knocking down 9.7 3-pointers per game, tops in the conference. Burton is one of four Cyclones averaging double figures. He also leads the team in rebounds, steals and blocks per game.
Iowa State beat the Cowboys in an up-tempo 96-86 battle Jan. 11, in Stillwater, Okla. Senior guard Monte Morris scored a career-high 30 points in the win over the Cowboys and says his squad is playing even better now.
“This team is peaking,” Morris told reporters after the Baylor win. “We trust each other. Winning five games in a row in this league isn’t easy if you don’t trust each other.”
Oklahoma State wraps up its regular season at home against No. 1 Kansas on Saturday.
Underwood is in his first season with the Cowboys after a successful run at Stephen F. Austin. He says his team still has room for improvement heading into March.
“Have we peaked? Not yet,” Underwood said. “I think we have a chance to be an exceptional team offensively and we’re showing that. But great teams don’t have the lapses that we had to start the second half. That’s where we have to get better.”
The Cyclones have won the last eight meetings with Oklahoma State.