ISU Cyclones vs. Oklahoma St Cowboys
Gallagher-Iba Arena | Stillwater, OK
7:00 pm CT | Big 12 Network (affiliate list)
Iowa State will tip-off again on the road in the middle of a workweek trying to find consistency for the first time in the Big 12 this season. Similarly, Oklahoma State will try to get above .500 in the conference and stay undefeated at home in Big 12 play.
Both teams are trying to position themselves to make a run at Kansas who currently is undefeated in the Big 12. The Cyclones (14-5, 4-2) found themselves seconds away from a big upset win in Lawrence and right below them in the standings, but a devastating loss at Texas Tech one week ago showed continued inconsistencies on this Iowa State squad. The Cowboys (13-5, 3-3) have had similar inconsistencies on the road. They haven’t won a true road game yet in four attempts this season, losing their only attempt at Virginia Tech during the non-conference season, and losing to Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Baylor so far.
As always, the Cyclones will have to hit their shots from the perimeter and hopefully the emergence of Melvin Ejim, who almost averages a double-double with 10.6 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.
Key players Iowa State will need to hone in on are Markel Brown, Marcus Smart, and Philip Jurick. Brown has 41 assists so far this season but had a career-high 11 assists in the game against the Cyclones in Ames last season. Right now Brown leads the team with 14.9 points per game. Smart leads the team with 81 assists. Jurick will be the biggest inside presence, leading the Cowboys in rebounding (7.4 per game) and blocked shots (22).
The Big 12 Network telecast will feature Doug Bell calling play-by-play and Bryndon Manzer will handle the color commentary. Locally, the game will be broadcast on ABC affiliate WOI-TV.
Keys to the Game
- Take advantage of 3-point shooting on the road. Last week, Iowa State went a dismal 6-23 from the arc at Texas Tech. Oklahoma State gives up .322 percent from the 3-point line, ranking seventh in the conference.
- Score early and set the tone. The Cowboys have been underrated on defense, giving up just 58.3 points a game. That’s a far different average than the Cyclones’ 78.6 points scored per game, and something will have to give in Stillwater. It would be ideal to take the crowd out of it early.
- Avoid foul trouble with Ejim and Georges Niang. Post play continues to be an issue depth-wise for Iowa State despite their high rebounding averages, currently sitting at first in the Big 12 in total rebounds and rebounding margin. They will need to win that battle and it can’t be done with Ejim and Niang on the bench.
- Don’t foul Smart, Brown, or Le’Bryan Nash. Those three are in the top 11 of free throw percentage made in the Big 12, Nash leading the trio with .798 percent.
- Korie Lucious needs to win assist-turnover ratio. Oklahoma State averages a +2.22 turnover margin, second in the conference.
This needs to be the time Iowa State finds consistency, and they have all the potential to. After getting their biggest marquee victory on Saturday, they need to prove they can beat one of these teams on the road in the Big 12. As long as they are comfortable with the 3-point shot and Lucious is able to spread the ball around more often then coughing it up, they should win this game against Oklahoma State. It’s a statement game they need, even if it is just January.
Cyclones 74, Cowboys 70
Brian Spaen is the lead editor of Clones Confidential. Get more Cyclones coverage by following us on Twitter.