Despite a valiant comeback by 15th-ranked Iowa State, they couldn’t make crucial free throws down the stretch nor any 3-point shots at the end, letting the game get away from them and giving Kansas State their 20th victory of the season.
The Cyclones (22-6, 10-6) couldn’t take advantage of a dominant effort by Melvin Ejim, who scored 30 points and 16 rebounds. He showed flashes of greatness from his best game of the year against TCU, and was more impressive in comparison against one of the best defenses in the Big 12.
DeAndre Kane started off a little slow with a couple turnovers, but ended up being the only other Iowa State player to put on a show offensively. He finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Both Ejim and Kane combined for 54 of the Cyclones’ 73 total points. They hit 17-of-31 from the field, and the rest of the team went a combined 6-of-35. In total, Iowa State shot 34.8 percent from the floor and missed 20 3-point attempts.
The Cyclones played right into Kansas State’s defense, who ranks atop of the Big 12 in field goal and 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Free throws were also a major problem. Iowa State was able to get to the line, but made just 20-of-30 free-throw attempts. Ball movement was a problem too with just 12 assists on 23 made field goals — very uncharacteristic for this team.
Kansas State’s Shane Southwell opened up with a barrage from 3-point range, starting off making 4-of-5 from downtown in the first half. He cooled off in the second half, but the rest of the bench gave the Wildcats (20-9, 10-6) enough depth to hold on to a huge resume-building victory.
To compare, five different players for KSU scored a total of 38 points while both bench players and 3-point specialists for ISU, Naz Long and Matt Thomas, went 0-of-9 from downtown and didn’t make a field goal. Long had zero points while Thomas made two free throws at the end of the game.
Iowa State will try to rebound with their second-straight road game on Tuesday night, when they take on the Baylor Bears in Waco. Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM Central time and the game will be televised on ESPN2.