Iowa State closed Saturday’s game in Bramlage Coliseum on a 21-8 run to defeat the Kansas State Wildcats, 78-64. K-State, which thrives on its defense, gave up 14 thee-point baskets, lost its nine-game conference winning streak, and saw its lead in the Big 12 Conference shrink to half a game over Texas Tech and Kansas and a single game over the Cyclones. All of those concerns, though, are tertiary to their worry about Dean Wade’s lower right leg.
Iowa State’s hot outside shooting put the Wildcats in chase mode from midway through the first half, but the ‘Cats got within four on a Wade jumper with 12:36 to play, then within two on the strength of Mike McGuirl free throws. Dean got off balance and landed awkwardly on his right leg, and after he hobbled to the bench, the Cyclones stretched the lead back to 7, at 57-50.
K-State fought back, cutting the lead to 1 and answered a Lindell Wigginton three-pointer with a Barry Brown Jr. lay-up to keep the margin briefly within a single possession. But Wigginton buried another three on the next possession, then took advantage of K-State’s extended defense to get a Mariel Shayok lay-up and a Cameron Lard dunk to build a nine-point Cyclone advantage. K-State would never recover.
Wigginton scored 23 in the game, while Freshman Talen Horton-Tucker, a 29 percent outside shooter on the season, dropped in 20 points on 6-for-9 three-point shooting. Marial Shayok added 13, though he was held to 5-16 shooting. As a team, Iowa State made 14 of 24 three-point attempts (58.3 percent), and outscored the Wildcats 42-15 from deep.
Barry Brown did his best to keep his team in the game, matching Wigginton’s 23 points while shooting 10-16 overall and 3-6 from three-point range. Makol Mawien scored 10, and Wade had nine points, five rebounds and three assists before sitting with the injury.
K-State had a 17-6 advantage on points from the free throw line, but that was not enough to offset Iowa State’s hot shooting from outside.
What we Learned
- Sometimes, you have to congratulate the opposition and get ready for the next game. Talen Horton-Tucker made four three-pointers in the last six minutes of the first half to help Iowa State open a seven-point lead at the break. He was 4 for 4 during that stretch, though only one of the shots really resulted from plays run for him or defensive breakdowns. The first two were five or six feet beyond the arc, over Dean Wade’s outstretched hands. The last was equally deep, and came at the end of the shot clock, on a fake drive and a step-back. Nobody could have defended any of those shots. It was his half. But-for Brown’s leaning half-court make at the buzzer that trimmed the lead to seven, K-State would have trailed by double-digits at the break.
- If the first half belonged to Horton-Tucker, the second was all Wigginton. He scored 15 of his 23 points in the period, and when K-State stepped out to overplay him, he set up teammates for open looks and dunks. Keying on any one player will not stop the Cyclones. So many of them can shoot, and Cameron Lard gives them enough of an inside threat to make defenses play them honest. The talent of this Iowa State team is obvious, which makes their home loss last week to Texas Christian all the more bewildering.
- The streak was fun while it lasted. Now, the star-crossed ‘Cats must regroup and try to piece together another string of wins to try holding on to their share of first in the Big 12. If they have to do it without the services of Wade, they will need monumental contributions from Xavier Sneed, Mike McGuirl, and Kamau Stokes. They will also need to tighten up the defense again. Having broken the 80-point mark only twice all season, K-State cannot afford to surrender 78 again.