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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hilton Coliseum (14,356) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Baylor 9-3, ISU 11-0. Away Record: Baylor 3-2, ISU 2-5. Neutral Record: Baylor 2-1, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: Baylor 5-2, ISU 4-3. Series Record: Iowa State leads, 13-9.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Big 12 squads trying to take the next step up the conference ladder are set the square off on Saturday night, as the Iowa State Cyclones play host to the Baylor Bears at Hilton Coliseum.
Baylor experienced a setback at home on Wednesday night, falling to Oklahoma in a 74-71 final, but its season as a whole has still been a success at 14-6 overall and 5-2 in conference, which is tied for second place with both Kansas State and Oklahoma. The Bears have won two of their last three contests outside of Waco.
Behind an outstanding stretch of nine wins in 11 games earlier this season, Iowa State has a record of 14-6, but it has faltered a bit of late with losses in two of its last three to fall to 4-3 in league play. The Cyclones lost a hard-fought battle at Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, 78-76, but they now return home where they've won all 11 games in Ames this season, and have won 18 in a row dating back to last year.
With regard to the all-time series, Iowa State holds a 13-9 advantage over Baylor. The home team has won each of the last eight matchups, and the Cyclones have never lost to the Bears in Ames.
Down by 11 with 2:45 to play against Oklahoma, Baylor caught fire and cut the deficit to just one at 67-66, following a 10-0 run, but it could not complete the comeback. Freshman center Isaiah Austin did all he could to lift his team to victory, scoring 19 points while grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. Pierre Jackson shot a mere 8-of-22 from the field, but still stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals, while Brady Heslip and A.J. Walton chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bears have made a habit of piecing together solid performances at both ends of the floor, scoring 76.0 ppg while yielding just 63.0 ppg. Jackson is making a strong case for Big 12 Player of the Year consideration, as he leads the league in scoring with 18.8 ppg and assists with a shade under six per outing, throwing in 1.7 spg and 47 3-pointers for good measure. Baylor is far from a one-man squad, however. You'd be hard-pressed to find a forward duo much stronger than Austin (14.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg) and Cory Jefferson (12.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg). Heslip (8.5 ppg) and Walton (7.1 ppg, 4.0 apg) are also regular contributors.
Iowa State played neck-and-neck with Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys broke a 76-76 tie in the waning seconds with a game-winning jumper. The Cyclones were nothing short of outstanding on offense, making 53.8 percent of their field goal attempts, including 13-of-24 from 3-point range, but their downfall came in the turnover battle, as they committed 17 miscues to just eight for OSU. Chris Babb (19 points), Georges Niang (16 points) and Will Clyburn (14 points) all reached double-digits in the setback.
The Cyclones are the only team in the Big 12 that scores more points per game than Baylor, as they register 78.4 ppg on 45.5 percent field goal efficiency. They often live and die by the 3-pointer, making 9.3 long-range buckets per game at a 36.8 percent clip. Clyburn paces the team with 14.4 ppg while also adding 7.5 rpg, and Melvin Ejim (10.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg) along with Niang (11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) are also crucial pieces down low. Tyrus McGee (12.4 ppg), Korie Lucious (9.9 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Babb (9.3 ppg) have combined to drain 125 buckets from beyond the arc.
With two of the most potent offenses in the country going head-to-head, there will be plenty of points to go around in this one. The teams are pretty evenly matched, but the advantage of playing this game in Ames will prove beneficial to the Cyclones once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 78, Baylor 74
02/02 10:44:26 ET
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