Iowa State rounds out their two-game road trip as they travel to Lubbock to take on a salty Texas Tech team, hell-bent on springing a third upset on the Cyclones in four years. It will be a second straight game without Jameel McKay for Iowa State as the senior forward remains suspended.
The Prior Meeting
Iowa State shook off early foul trouble by Georges Niang and used a 14-2 run to blow open the game in the first half, building a 31-13 lead.
The Red Raiders used an 18-5 run over the course of about 6 minutes of game time to cut the lead to 7 and Iowa State ended up taking a 10-point lead into the half. In the second stanza, Texas Tech cut into that lead, getting as close as being down 49-48 at the under 12-minute timeout and trailed by only 3 points in the final minutes. The Cyclones hit some timely shots down the stretch to prevail 76-69 in their conference home opener.
Matt Thomas was electric from outside, hitting 6-10 from deep en route to scoring a game high 22 points. Jameel McKay was equally effective, scoring 19 points while pulling down 14 rebounds and blocking 4 shots.
It wasn't exactly a great effort from the Cyclones, but Iowa State hit 14-17 from the stripe and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to help fuel the win.
Justin Gray scored 14 points off the bench to lead Texas Tech. Leading scorer, Devaugntah Williams, was held to 3-15 shooting and along with fellow back court mate, Toddrick Gotcher, the pair combined to hit just 1-9 from deep. As a team, Tech was 2-15 from outside.
So Who Wins?
Ironically enough, just as it was on Saturday at Oklahoma State, Iowa State gets the good fortune of sidelining McKay against a team that's not at full strength. Norense Odiase, who scored 11 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the first affair, broke his foot toward the end of January and will not be the line up any time soon for Tubby Smith. As a result, Smith has been forced to play a little smaller, but has the luxury of an athletic front line.
Texas Tech is 3-7 in Big 12 play, but United Supermarkets Arena has proven to be a tough visiting venue for conference foes. Tech has home wins over Texas and Oklahoma State in Lubbock and close losses to Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia. Iowa State is going to have to play a tough 40 minutes to come away with a win.
And speaking of winning on the road, Iowa State has now notched 3 straight road wins in conference play and certainly had their chances in close losses at Texas A&M, at Texas and at Oklahoma. Per Cyclones.com, Iowa State hasn't won 4 straight Big 12 road games since the '00-'01 season.
As for Wednesday night, you have to be cautiously optimistic if you're an Iowa State fan. While Texas Tech is improved, the Red Raiders are just 2-6 in their last 8 games with a road win over TCU and an overtime home win over Oklahoma State, who was missing Jawun Evans in the second half, suggesting that they're good enough to hang with good teams, but maybe not good enough to actually beat good teams.
To say the least, Iowa State has to get out to a much better start than they did on Saturday and given the inconsistent production of what compromises Steve Prohm's bench, all five starters need to get into double figures. I think that happens and the Cyclones survive again on the road without Jameel McKay.
Iowa State 79 - Texas Tech 75
Tip: 8 p.m. CST
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here
Texas Tech SB Nation Site: Viva The Matadors