FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,734) -- Austin, Texas. Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: ISU 13-0, Texas 9-3. Away Record: ISU 2-6, Texas 0-6. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, Texas 1-4. Conference Record: ISU 6-4, Texas 2-8. Series Record: Texas leads, 13-9.
GAME NOTES: The Iowa State Cyclones and the Texas Longhorns both try to rebound from recent losses, as the Big 12 Conference rivals square off at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday night.
After winning back-to-back games to start the month of February, Iowa State hit the road to play Kansas State on Saturday and was saddled with a 79-70 defeat to fall to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in league play. While the Cyclones have been flawless on their home floor this season (13-0), things have been a little more difficult in their trips away from Ames, winning just two of eight true road games.
Without question, Texas has been one of the most disappointing teams in the Big 12 this season, as it is just 10-13 overall, and at 2-8 in the conference, it ranks only above TCU (1-9) in the standings. The Longhorns most recently welcomed Oklahoma State to Austin, and suffered a 72-59 loss for only their third setback in 12 games at the Erwin Center.
Iowa State won the first meeting between these two teams earlier this season, 82-62, on Jan. 12, which snapped a six-game losing streak in the series. The Longhorns still lead the Cyclones a 13-9 margin.
The Cyclones fought hard in their road matchup with Kansas State, as they trailed by just one at the half, but they lost control of the bout down the stretch on their way to the nine-point loss. The team put forth a strong shooting effort in defeat, making 49.1 percent of its field goal attempts, including 12-of-27 from 3-point range, but the difference came at the foul line where it was outscored by an 18-6 margin. Korie Lucious shot 4-of-8 from distance for 16 points, Tyrus McGee poured in 15 points off the bench, and Melvin Ejim tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Iowa State boasts a fantastic scoring offense, leading the league and ranking eighth in the nation with 78.3 ppg, with most of its success coming thanks to its prowess from 3-point range (213-of-583, .365). Six players score at least 9.3 ppg, paced by 14.8 ppg by Will Clyburn. McGee (12.3 ppg), Georges Niang (11.3 ppg), and Ejim (10.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg) have all been strong shooters at 46.6 percent or greater. Lucious nets 9.8 ppg and hands out the second-most assists in the Big 12 (5.6 pg).
The Longhorns put together a solid defensive game plan against Oklahoma State, holding the Cowboys under 38 percent field goal shooting, but the only issue was they could not take advantage when they had to ball, shooting just 23- of-59 from the floor (.390), 1-of-18 from 3-point range (.056), and 12-of-21 from the foul line (.571). Ioannis Papapetrou was solid across the board with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks, while Demarcus Holland netted 13 points off the bench. Defense hasn't been the problem for Texas this season, as it holds opponents to 62.3 ppg on a lowly 36.2 percent shooting from the field, but its losing record has come thanks to a lackluster offensive showing (63.4 ppg). Sheldon McClellan is the team's leading scorer with 14.3 ppg, but he makes only 37.1 percent of his field goal attempts. Julien Lewis chips in 11.3 ppg, and Javan Felix is UT's floor general with 8.2 ppg and 5.5 apg.
Texas certainly has the type of defensive pressure to slow down the potent Cyclones' shooting attack, and it will have a leg up playing in front of its home fans, However, Iowa State has simply been the much more impressive team this season, and it should be able to find a way to grind out a tough road win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 68, Texas 65
02/13 10:34:13 ET
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