Iowa State Cyclones at Baylor Bears
Ferrell Center | Waco, TX
Time: 8:00 PM CT | TV: ESPNU
Just two weeks ago, both Iowa State and Baylor still had lots of optimism for this season and both in good positions to win the Big 12. Before their first clash, the Bears were wanting to erase a tough loss to Oklahoma at home. The Cyclones were wanting to come back after giving up a game at Oklahoma State. Now both teams could be playing to potentially eliminate the other from current NCAA tournament contention.
Iowa State (17-8, 7-5) needs to find a way to play with the same intensity as it does at home. As expected, the Cyclones embarrassed the TCU Horned Frogs 87-53 last Saturday. Georges Niang was too dominant inside after recovering from early foul trouble, finishing with a team-high 19 points. Iowa State was too much from the perimeter, shooting 48.3 percent from 3-point range, and was too much inside outrebounding TCU 41-27. The lack of second-chance opportunities and poor shooting did the Horned Frogs in down the stretch as the Cyclones pulled away.
However, Baylor (16-9, 7-5) was on the wrong end of an 81-61 blowout against Kansas State in Manhattan. Turnovers killed them with star Pierre Jackson committing five of them to nine assists. Isaiah Austin had 13 points and six rebounds, but they needed more production from forward Cory Jefferson who also had six boards but just six points.
Last meeting: Despite being way off from 3-point range hitting just 4-24, the Cyclones went to the free throw line 13 more times and converted 25-30 attempts, ultimately defeating the Bears 79-71 in Hilton Coliseum.
Keys to the Game
- Continue to attack and get to the free-throw line. Iowa State has hit 83 of their last 99 free throws in the previous five games. If they can get to the line like they did in the previous meeting, that will help ease tension on the road if the 3-point shots don’t fall.
- Win the rebounding battle. It may be a broken record for this category, but the Cyclones were able to edge them out 39-35 back on February 2nd. They must win the battle again in Waco.
- Don’t let up defensively down the stretch. It’s simple, but it wouldn’t be here if Iowa State could finish a game on the road with a victory when they have a lead.
TV announcers: Mitch Holthus (play-by-play), Matt Doherty (analysis); game will be televised on ESPNU.
Time is running out for the Iowa State Cyclones to win on the road. They must showcase to the NCAA tournament selection committee that they can win in a conference game without having to be in their environment. Baylor’s 3-point defense percentage is a stellar 29.9 percent and they were able to hold off the Cyclones in Ames last time, but Isaiah Austin was unable to be dominant. There’s enough size with Will Clyburn and Niang to match up with the Bears this season, the team just needs to continue not turning it over like it’s improved with lately. Gain a lead, get to the free throw line – basically play like they did against Texas. Except this time, finish it off. Finally, this team should be able to.
Cyclones 77, Bears 72