Iowa State (19-9) at Oklahoma (18-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 1:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: ISU 15-1, OU 10-2. Away Record: ISU 3-7, OU 5-6. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, OU 3-1. Conference Record: ISU 9-6, OU 9-6. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 111-79.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams tied at 9-6 in the Big 12 Conference will try to claim fourth place all to themselves on Saturday afternoon, as the Oklahoma Sooners and the Iowa State Cyclones square off at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
Iowa State had been winners of three straight games heading to its Monday night matchup with No. 6 Kansas, but after battling into overtime, it fell on the wrong end of a 108-96 final. The Cyclones are an impressive 19-9 overall this season, and their league ledger has them in good shape to earn one of the top six seeds in the upcoming conference tournament, but unlikely to catch Kansas or Kansas State for one of the top two seeds.
Oklahoma has stalled lately, as it has split its last four games. The team most recently traveled to Austin for a bout with Texas on Wednesday night, and fought hard into overtime before falling, 92-86. The Sooners are 18-9 overall and are surely happy to return home for this matchup, where they have won 10 of 12 bouts this season.
Although Oklahoma leads the series with Iowa State, 111-79, the Cyclones have beaten the Sooners three straight times, most recently claiming an easy 83-64 verdict in Ames on Feb. 4.
The Cyclones appeared to be in line for an upset victory earlier in the week as they were up by five points with 45 seconds remaining, but Kansas ended regulation on an 8-3 run to send the game to overtime, and then dominated the extra session, 18-6, to earn the victory. Iowa State had an incredibly busy night from 3-point range, draining a school-record 17 long-range buckets on 41 attempts, but it shot less than 36 percent from the field overall, which proved costly in the end. Korie Lucious finished with a game-high 23 points, shooting 10-of-12 from the foul line in the process, while Tyrus McGee came off the bench to net 22 points. Will Clyburn added 16 points and seven boards, Georges Niang recorded 15 points and seven assists, and Chris Babb rounded out the balanced effort with 11 points. ISU is the Big 12's top scoring team this season, netting 80.1 ppg thanks mostly to its league-best marks in 3-pointers made (277) and 3-point percentage (.373). Clyburn leads the way with 14.9 ppg to go along with 7.3 rpg, while Melvin Ejim (10.8 ppg) collects a conference- best 9.6 rpg. Lucious (10.1 ppg) hands out 5.8 apg, while McGee (13.5 ppg), Niang (11.5 ppg) and Babb (9.6 ppg) round out one of the best six-man rotations in the country.
Oklahoma dominated the first 20 minutes of its latest matchup, heading into halftime with a 43-28 lead over Texas, but the Longhorns battled back to force overtime with a game-tying jumper in the waning seconds of regulation, and eventually claimed the triumph in the extra session. The Sooners shot an impressive 50.9 percent from the floor, but they also allowed UT to drain 50 percent of its field goal attempt while being outscored at the foul line, 26-19. Romero Osby was fantastic in the setback, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and 13-of-17 from the foul line for a career-high 31 points. Steven Pledger and Amath M'Baye chipped in with 18 and 16 points, respectively. On the season, OU is hovering around the middle of the pack in the Big 12 both in terms of scoring offense (70.5 ppg) and scoring defense (65.6 ppg), and it makes claim to the league's top-ranked free-throw percentage (.744). Osby is a bona fide playmaker in the frontcourt, scoring 15.0 ppg with great percentages from the field (.521) and the foul line (.789), while adding 7.0 rpg and nearly a block per contest as well. Pledger (11.9 ppg) is the team's resident deep threat, shooting 60-of-160 from 3-point range (.375), while M'Baye brings 10.6 ppg and 5.6 rpg to the table.
Iowa State is on the bubble for a selection to the NCAA Tournament, and it knows it will need every victory down the stretch. However, the Cyclones have disappointed on the road (3-7), and their shooting prowess hasn't been as strong away from Ames, meaning the balanced Sooners should be able to ride the emotion supplied by the frenzied home crown on the way to a solid victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 75, Iowa State 73
03/02 10:38:15 ET