Wow. What else can you say after a win like that over the #7 team in the country? Iowa State turned a two-point game at the half into a 15-point beatdown as the #9 Cyclones remained undefeated, beating Baylor 87-72.
Truth be told, that final score doesn't even do proper justice for how dominant Iowa State was in the second half of this game. According to the good folks in media relations, the 15-point margin of victory was the second largest of all time over a top ten team, falling one point short of tying Iowa State's 16-point win over a top ten Kansas team in 1985.
Baylor remains winless all time in Hilton Coliseum and Iowa State extended its best start in school history and will look to make it 15-0 when they travel to Norman to take on Oklahoma on Saturday.
Iowa State was led by a mega performance from DeAndre Kane. His line of 30 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 5 steals may have just put him in the pantheon of greatest individual games from a Cyclone all-time (seriously, how many times have I said "all-time" already?). I texted a buddy after the game that I thought Kane had the best individual game since Craig Brackins went for 42 and 14 against Kansas in 2009. He was that good.
The senior is the reigning two-time Big 12 Player of the Week and he's the leader in the clubhouse by a mile right now for a third straight honor. This is the type of game that NBA GMs point to after they draft a guy in June and that is by no means getting carried away.
Coming into the year, we knew Kane was a playmaker, but his poor shooting splits and turnover rate were a major concern, especially transitioning to a full-time point guard role in a much tougher conference. After shooting 2-4 from deep tonight, Kane is now shooting a solid 36.4% from outside and holds a 2.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. You better believe he's on the radar of NBA scouts and GMs.
- This number is somewhat skewed by fast break points (15-0 in favor of Iowa State), but despite being the smaller team, the Cyclones dominated the paint, holding a 47-26 advantage at the end of the night. Iowa State picked apart Baylor's zone and the Bears had no answer for ISU's attack.
- From the outside, both teams shot the ball exceptionally well. Iowa State shot 40% from behind the arc, hitting on 10-25 from long range while Baylor shot 11-25. The Cyclones had four players nail multiple 3's, including 2-5 from Melvin Ejim, 2-4 from Kane, 2-5 from Naz Long and 3-4 from Monte Morris.
- Speaking of Morris, he had another outstanding game. Coming off a very good performance against Texas Tech, Morris showed up again, scoring 13 points while dishing out 4 assists and picking up 2 steals. This was also yet another game for him without a turnover and he's now at 41 assists to only 9 turnovers on the year. This kid is going to be special.
- Kane stole the show, but the rest of the Core Four did their part. Ejim scored a quiet 18 points and coming off a nasty flu bug, Dustin Hogue played a surprising 36 minutes, collecting 10 rebounds and scoring 8 points. Georges Niang battled foul trouble most of the night, but finished strong, scoring 9 points and handing out 5 assists.
- And while we're on assists, this team continues to impress with how well they share the ball. Iowa State had 23 assists on 34 field goals and only had 10 turnovers to Baylor's 19. Iowa State scored 17 points off those turnovers.
- How about the depth tonight? Morris and Long brought their usual spark off the bench, but Percy Gibson, Daniel Edozie and Sherron Dorsey-Walker also saw limited time and showed that when he needs it, Fred Hoiberg has more depth on his bench than we give him credit for. Granted, each of those three only played about a minute of game action, but getting them in late in the first half to prevent the starters from picking up additional fouls was a must.
- Defensively, you have to pleased with the way Iowa State defended Baylor's post players. Cory Jefferson managed only 7 points and Isaiah Austin was pretty much a non-factor offensively, scoring only 10. As mentioned, Baylor did shoot it very well from outside and I have to say, Brady Heslip might just be the most terrifying opposing player to see in the conference (well, that's not wearing a Cyclone uniform anyway). He had it stuck on automatic tonight and hit 4 heavily contested 3's.
- Last thought; is Saturday's game against Oklahoma just about the biggest trap game you can remember? Undefeated and ranked in the top ten, ISU will face a quality Sooner team on their home floor with the Cyclone players knowing in the back of their minds that the biggest game of the season sits on the horizon when Kansas comes to Ames for Big Monday.