Iowa State at Kansas State men’s basketball: Five players to watch


Kansas State presents more matchup problems in the frontcourt for Iowa State, and the Cyclones were lucky to come out with a victory in Ames against the Wildcats in what seems like ages ago.

Feb 22, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward Ryan Spangler (00) handles the ball against Kansas State Wildcats forward Thomas Gipson (42) during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang would like to continue their dominance on offense, but what are some other players to look forward to in the matchup on Saturday night?

#42 Thomas Gipson (KSU junior forward, 6-foot-7, 265 lbs.)

Gipson has been a beast this season, crushing his previous season stats averaging 11.7 points per game and shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 71.3 percent from the charity stripe. He grabbed seven rebounds against Iowa State in the first meeting, which is right near his average, but hit a pedestrian 2-for-7 from the field and didn’t see the free-throw line. The Cyclones don’t want to foul Gipson; he’s 16-for-18 from the free-throw line in his last four games.

#15 Naz Long (ISU sophomore guard, 6-foot-4, 205 lbs.)

Has Nazzy finally found his rhythm from the perimeter? We thought he’d break out of his schneid after hitting 4-of-7 from 3-point range in the win over Texas Tech, but he went 0-for-3 in 28 total minutes of action in the last two game. Long responded with an incredible 5-of-7 performance that kept West Virginia from overcoming a big deficit at Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday night. In the previous game against KSU, Long missed just one attempted 3-pointer in limited minutes.

#2 Marcus Foster (KSU freshman guard, 6-foot-2, 200 lbs.)

Iowa State seems to have a problem with talented guards, and there’s no question that Foster has emerged as one of the best freshman guards in the Big 12. After being held to just two points against Texas Tech, he’s averaged 20.9 points and is 22-of-45 from 3-point range (.489) in his last seven games. Turnovers have still been a slight issue, but it’s improving. He hasn’t had over four in one game since last facing the Cyclones.

Feb 26, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers forward Kevin Noreen (34) and Iowa State Cyclones guard forward Dustin Hogue (22) battle for the ball in the first half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

#22 Dustin Hogue (ISU junior forward, 6-foot-6, 215 lbs.)

It’s hard to believe that Hogue has just two double-doubles since conference play began. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been close on numerous occasions, and he fell two points short in the previous meeting. Hogue will again likely be a bigger threat on the boards, averaging 8.5 rebounds per game. He’ll need to get around that average or better against a tough matchup against…

#25 Wesley Iwundu (KSU freshman forward, 6-foot-7, 195 lbs.)

Despite his smaller size, Iwundu was able to lead Kansas State with eight rebounds and made 3-of-5 shot attempts in the previous meeting against Iowa State. That’s largely in part to the Cyclones’ continuing problems with size in the frontcourt and Hogue again struggling against Big 12 talent. Iwundu had 20 points in his last two games, and scored five of the team’s last six points in the win over Texas Tech on Tuesday night.