Three Thoughts on Iowa State’s 78-72 Win Over Baylor in Big 12 Tourney Quarterfinals
In the first quarterfinal game of the 2023 Big 12 Basketball Tournament, it was the Iowa State Cyclones who prevailed in front of a de facto home crowd in T-Mobile Center on Thursday afternoon, 78-72.
The win moves Iowa State into the semifinals, where they will face the winner of Kansas and West Virginia, who play at 2:00 PM CT.
Here are a few thoughts on Iowa State’s massive win and what it means for both teams moving forward.
Gabe Kalscheur, Tamin Lipsey Keep Pace With Bears Offense
There were times in this game when the Baylor offense would get rolling, but it seemed that every time that would happen, Iowa State would get a big play from Gabe Kalscheur or Tamin Lipsey. The duo combined for 37 points, with Kalscheur leading the Cyclones with 24 points on 6-11 from three. Tamin Lipsey likely won’t be the guy that makes all the headlines, but he played a massive role in Iowa State’s win. Lipsey finished the day with 13 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and five steals. The Bears struggled to stay in front of Iowa State during the second half, and Kalscheur and Lipsey made them pay.
Jalon Bridges Career-Day Not Enough Against Upstart Iowa State
If I would’ve told you before the game that Baylor would get 28 points out of Jalon Bridges, you would’ve assumed that Baylor would run away with the game. However, the Iowa State defense stepped up against the Baylor trio of Keyonte George (11 points), LJ Cryer (10 points), and Adam Flagler (14 points). On top of that, Baylor only got seven points total off the bench. Unfortunately for Baylor, Jalon Bridges’ career day wasn’t enough, as the Cyclones played much better defense and a more complete game, giving them a big-time win and another day of life in the Big 12 tournament.
Iowa State’s Toughness and Grit Wins the Day
After Hason Ward blocked a would-be dunk from Flo Thamba midway through the second half, Fran Fraschilla said, “I have one word for you: toughness,” as the Iowa State crowd went nuts. Throughout the contest, Iowa State outmanned, out-hustled, and overpowered the Bears in the paint and in 50/50 situations. One stat can sum up the game quite easily: the Cyclones outrebounded the Bears 43-17 in Kansas City on Thursday afternoon. The only reason this game wasn’t a blowout is that the Bears shot 48.3% from three, making 14-29 from behind the arc. At the end of the day, Iowa State’s defense and rebounding was just too much for Baylor, and for the third time this season, the Cyclones prevailed over Scott Drew’s bunch.