Iowa State needed to make a statement on Saturday afternoon and boy did they ever. Avenging a loss in Lubbock two weeks ago, the Cyclones put together arguably one of their most complete efforts of the season, routing the Red Raiders 75-38,
Starting on the defensive end, Iowa State simply looked different. Much maligned for poor defensive efforts in recent games, Iowa State played a nearly flawless game on that end of the floor and the end result was impressive (and much needed). The Red Raiders are the second opponent Iowa State has held under 40 points this year and overall, the rotations, communication and close outs all looked better. Texas Tech shot just 30.9% from the floor, including 4-20 from deep and shockingly, were 0-7 from the line. Iowa State also forced 15 turnovers and Jameel McKay was a terror on the inside, blocking three shots.
Speaking of McKay, the junior earned the first start of his career, replacing Bryce Dejean-Jones in the line up. McKay made the most of the opportunity, leading Iowa State in scoring with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Dejean-Jones only scored 5 points on only two shots off the bench, but he dished out 5 assists and at least on the surface, didn't appear to show any disappointment with his new role.
Naz Long was the only other Cyclone to reach double figures on the afternoon, scoring 15 points, including knocking down 3-7 from outside. Ten different Cyclones scored as part of the balanced effort and as a team, Iowa State shot 56% from the floor.
Notching the blowout win was great, but more importantly, Iowa State was able to rest their starters for a good chunk of the second half, which could prove to be critically important for the Cyclones' next affair in Oklahoma on Monday night. Monte Morris and Georges Niang particularly might benefit from the rest as each have logged big minutes of late.
With the win, Iowa State moves to 17-5 overall and sits alone in second place in the conference standings at 7-3. The Cyclones have a tremendous opportunity to score some big wins over their next seven contests and if they want to keep pace with Kansas (who just lost at Oklahoma State by the way), they're going to have to perform on the road. Starting with Monday's game at Oklahoma, Iowa State will play away from Hilton Coliseum five times over these last eight games.
Monday's game will tip at 8 PM and will air on ESPN.