Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Hilton Coliseum | Ames, IA
7:00 PM CT | ESPN2
After another tough loss on the road, the Iowa State men’s basketball team returns to Ames to rebound and continue their 18-game home winning streak. For Baylor, it’s a must-win after dropping a home game against Oklahoma earlier this week.
Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Austin, who both lead the team in points per game, scored 41 points combined for the Bears in a 74-71 loss to the Sooners. They were getting blown out most of the game until surging back in the final minutes, a 3-point shot to tie the game rimmed out as Baylor coach Scott Drew fell to the floor.
Oklahoma didn’t blow the lead on the road, but Iowa State did against their rivals on the same night.
Turnovers reared their ugly head again, committing 17 against Oklahoma State on Wednesday night. That will have to be cleaned up if they want to compete against Baylor. The Bears have a +1.65 turnover margin and they’re the second-highest scoring team in the Big 12 with 76 points per game – right below Iowa State’s conference-leading 78.4 points per game.
Both teams also lead the conference in rebounding. Iowa State edges out Baylor with 40.5 rebounds per game, .9 better than the Bears.
Keys to the Game
- Win the rebounding battle. It’s easier said than done, considering freshman center Isaiah Austin averages a team high 9.4 rebounds, which is second-best in the Big 12. Who’s first? Melvin Ejim with 9.5 rebounds per game. Ejim, Will Clyburn, and Georges Niang need to have a big day on the boards.
- Prepare for a shootout. With both teams scoring more than any other team in the Big 12, including Kansas, expect to need about 80 or more points to win tonight. That means Korie Lucious will be a key in moving the ball around without turning it over, and obviously the 3-point shooting will need to be successful, because…
- Contain Baylor’s 3-point shooting. If Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip are hot from the perimeter, it’s going to be a long night in Hilton Coliseum.
This is going to be a fun, high-scoring matchup in Ames tonight. Iowa State has controlled the ball much better at home and as long as those turnovers aren’t a problem, the Cyclones should be able to score right with Baylor. It’s going to be hard to stop Jackson and Austin, but if Iowa State is able to limit production from most of the other team, they should find a way to win. Ejim should be able to get another double-double, Niang should get some real production inside offensively, and Baylor isn’t much tougher than Oklahoma State when it comes to defending the 3-point shot. With a big crowd inside Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones should continue their home winning streak.
Cyclones 84, Bears 83
Brian Spaen is the lead editor of Clones Confidential. Get more Cyclones coverage by following us on Twitter.