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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 1:45 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hilton Coliseum (14,376) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: TTU 8-10, ISU 14-0. Away Record: TTU 1-5, ISU 3-7. Neutral Record: TTU 0-0, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: TTU 2-11, ISU 8-5. Series Record: Series is tied, 11-11.
GAME NOTES: The Iowa State Cyclones will try to stay perfect at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, as they welcome the struggling Texas Tech Red Raiders to town for a Big 12 Conference showdown.
Since starting the season a favorable 8-4, Texas Tech has spiraled out of control with losses in 11 of its last 12 games to plummet to 9-15 overall and a woeful 2-11 in conference. The Red Raiders most recently hosted Oklahoma on Wednesday night and were saddled with an 86-71 defeat to extend their season- long losing streak to seven games.
Meanwhile, Iowa State is in the midst of an impressive season at 18-8 overall and 8-5 in the Big 12, and it has won back-to-back games over TCU (87-53) and Baylor (87-82). The Cyclones have been flawless at Hilton Coliseum this season, going 14-0, and they have won 21 straight at home overall, the third- longest streak in school history.
Texas Tech has ripped off six wins in the last seven meetings with Iowa State, including a 56-51 victory in Lubbock on Jan. 23, to tie the all-time series at 11-11.
The Red Raiders were thoroughly overmatched by Oklahoma in their latest bout, as they got outshot from the field, .533 to .414, and outrebounded, 39-29, in the 15-point loss. Josh Gray had a solid performance in defeat, posting a career-high 26 points on 10-of-22 shooting from the field, while also adding five assists and four steals. Jaye Crockett logged 15 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench, while Jordan Tolbert chipped in with 10 points and seven boards. Texas Tech hasn't been terribly strong at the offensive end of the court this season, scoring 66.2 ppg on less than 42 percent shooting, and its league-worst scoring defense (71.8 ppg) certainly hasn't done much to help matters. Crockett has been great in his reserve role with 12.3 ppg and 7.0 rpg, while Gray (9.5 ppg), Tolbert (9.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Dejan Kravic (8.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg) have also been solid in their own right.
No Big 12 team scores more points than Iowa State (79.3 ppg), and it put that outstanding offense to work on Wednesday night in a shootout victory over TCU, as the team shot 54.2 percent from the floor and drained 11 3-pointers. Melvin Ejim was the anchor in the triumph, recording a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds while also blocking a pair of shots. Tyrus McGee provided a spark off the bench with 22 points on 8-of-11 field goal efficiency, while Korie Lucious (16 points) and Georges Niang (15 points) each dished out four assists. Pacing a balanced scoring attack this season is Will Clyburn, who nets 14.8 ppg while grabbing 7.8 rpg. Ejim (11.0 ppg) patrols the paint, hauling in a Big 12-best 9.5 rpg, and Lucious (9.8 ppg) in one of the league's top point guards with 5.8 apg. Others contributing for the Cyclones are McGee (13.2 ppg), Niang (11.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Chris Babb (9.8 ppg). ISU relies heavily on the 3-pointer. Not only has it drained a conference-best 249 long- range buckets, but it connects at a 37 percent clip, which is also tops in the league.
With a struggling Texas Tech squad rolling into one of the most difficult buildings for opposing teams to play, the writing is on the wall in this one. Expect the Cyclones' high-powered attack to put the game of reach early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 88, Texas Tech 66
02/23 10:43:31 ET