Iowa State Cyclones

Three Thoughts on K-State’s 61-55 Win Over Iowa State

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Kansas State

Iowa State and Kansas State basketball met on Saturday in a game that would go a long way in defining seeding in next month’s Big 12 Tournament. And while both teams are solidly in the NCAA Tournament, each team had its struggles coming into this meeting. K-State had dropped four of its last five games, while the Cyclones had lost four of six.

So coming into this Top 25 match up, plenty was on the line and it was Kansas State pulling off a home victory over the Cyclones in a 61-55 win. Here are three thoughts on the game.


Kansas State’s Second Half Surge

The Wildcats dominated the second half, putting up 38 of their 61 points in the final 20 minutes of action. They owned the half with strong defense and got 20 points from Markquis Nowell and 15 points from Keyontae Johnson. The Cats were on fire from long range, hitting five of 11 three pointers, with Nowell making four of those in the second half alone.

K-State started off the second half on a 16-3 run in less than five minutes to take a 37-34 lead at the 15:22 mark on one of Nowell’s three pointers. Iowa State would briefly regain the lead, however once the Cats went up 41-38 with 11 minutes to play, it was all Cats, despite ISU pulling it to within a one-point game two more times. The Wildcats were also an efficient 18-22 from the free throw line, which helped them seal the victory.


Missing Grill

We found out before the game that Caleb Grill would be inactive for the game, and as this one progressed, it showed for the Cyclones. Iowa State finished 30.6% from the floor, and only 5/27 from three point range, good for 18.5%. They also lost the turnover battle 15-11. Gabe Kalscheur and Jaren Holmes combined to go 6-of-30 from the field for Iowa State, including a 5-of-19 effort from 3-point range. These two also combined for seven fouls and six turnovers.

That being said, the Cyclones still had a chance to win this game, but could not get it done.


The Big 12 Race

With the win, the Cyclones and Wildcats have identical 8-6 records in Big 12 play and are two games back of first place after Texas was able to hang in overtime for a win over the Sooners to improve to 10-4 in league play. Pending the outcome of the Baylor-Kansas game, there will be a two-way tie atop the Big 12 standings, a lone third place team, and K-State and Iowa State tied for fourth place. With two weeks to go, the conference race is going down to the wire. And both teams have huge opportunities coming up.

The Cyclones will be back in action on Tuesday when they visit Austin to play Texas, while Kansas State hosts No. 9 Baylor on Tuesday night in Manhattan.

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