Baylor vs Iowa State men’s basketball: Three players to watch


Who are the biggest players to watch in Tuesday night’s top-10 matchup between the Iowa State Cyclones and Baylor Bears? We’ll focus on the starting lineup featuring two of the teams’ best forwards and a look at Baylor’s transfer at point guard.

Dec 30, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears forward Cory Jefferson (34) celebrates a score with guard Gary Franklin (4) during the second half against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at The Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Cory Jefferson (#34, Baylor senior forward)

If Iowa State gives up easy rebounds like they did in last two games, both Jefferson and Isaiah Austin will gain the advantage in rebounding. They’re both bigger than any Cyclones that see the floor often. Unlike Austin, Jefferson is a serious threat on offense. He constantly reaches double-digit point outings and had great overall performances against Baylor’s top two opponents: 15 points, eight rebounds against Syracuse and 13 points, eight rebounds against Kentucky.

Georges Niang (#31, Iowa State sophomore forward)

Niang had a stellar outing in the team’s Big 12 debut. He finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. The sophomore wasn’t a force on the boards in the two games against Baylor last year (four rebounds in each), but he scored 17 points in the home contest and 15 points at Waco.

Kenny Chery (#1, Baylor junior guard)

The JUCO transfer has been a positive surprise for a team that’s focused on the frontcourt. His assist-to-turnover ratio could be a bit better as a point guard (125th nationally at +2.5), but he averages 5.2 assists per game and can be a threat offensively (11.5 points per game). Like Jefferson, he was a big impact in their toughest games against Syracuse and Kentucky.

Other notables

  • Rico Gathers (BAY sophomore forward) leads the team in offensive rebounds (44). He could be an impact if he’s able to give Baylor extra opportunities off the bench. Gathers also had eight rebounds last year off the bench in Ames, which was second only to Austin (10).
  • Isaiah Austin (BAY senior forward) went a combined 7-22 from the field in both games against Iowa State last year. He does average 13 points per game and has 38 blocks this season (78th nationally)