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Iowa State Holds Off TCU, Cyclones Start Conference Play 3-0

TCU is a Football School

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

What a game. Road wins are going to be a luxury in the Big 12, and the Cyclones seem like they hold the monopoly on that luxury. Iowa State did a great job of keeping TCU at arm’s length for the vast majority of the game.

Starting in the first half, Mike Miles Jr., a potential Big 12 player of the year, struggled mightily against the Cyclones. He ended up leading the team in points by the end of it, but the Cyclones made him work for it.

This game was going to be a tug-of-war between style of play. Iowa State wants to run its half-court offense, slow down the game, and grind things to a halt. Coming into the game, TCU was the best fast-break team in the country, led by Miles Jr.

For the most part, the Cyclones controlled the pace, and played their version of basketball. Which is no easy task, especially on the road. Tamin Lipsey, the diaper dandy, continued to impress.

It was no doubt a team effort, Lipsey, Holmes, Jones, and Kalscheur all finished with double digits. Kalscheur led the team with 15 points and not to mention a very impressive go-ahead three-point shot, we’ll get to that.

Tre King had a really solid game, making up a lot of minutes for the injured Jaz Kunc. He forced the issue on offense a couple of times, and had some BIG time rebounds, grown man stuff.

The Cyclones did a really good job of taking as much time off the clock as possible, down the stretch. I love that. One small thing, with the under 4-timeout, Otz had Iowa State come out in a 2-3 zone, and I’m sure TCU had a set play ready for man-to-man defense. That’s one less possession for TCU after they had to adjust, ending up missing their shot, which comes up big in single possession games.

The other thing I want to highlight, Iowa State does a great job of keeping teams on the other side of the lead. It was a close game throughout, but TCU got over the hump only at the very end, and not for very long. They were playing with their backs against the wall most of the second half. That’s good news for a defensive minded team.

The last minute was some good ol’ fashion anxiety inducing Cyclone basketball. The officials called a very tight game, a little too tight for my liking on either side. TCU also benefitted from some ‘veteran’ leg kicks by Mike Miles Jr.

If you watched the game on ESPNU, Fran Fraschilla didn’t care for these calls, and neither did I. That should be an offensive foul, Tamin Lipsey’s goal was to blow by Miles Jr., and land out of bounds. Which he would’ve, if Miles Jr. didn’t kick out his feet.

The end of the game was a near disaster, between Lipsey almost losing that ball, and the nightmare sequence that ensued shortly after. I want to highlight Caleb Grill’s fastball pass to Osun which almost saved the game, but who really saved the game?

Gabe Kalscheur, with maybe the most improbable step back three. Man, that’s an NBA shot, and honestly, I don’t love how that was the best look we got with 6.5 seconds left. Let’s give Kalscheur his flowers though, what an incredible play, Donovan Jackson sized ONIONS.

The Big 12, I’ll say it all-season, is the best conference in the history of college basketball bar-none. The Big 12 this year is what ESPN thinks the SEC is in football. What’s even better? Iowa State is hanging tight with the best of the best. What a time to be a Cyclone basketball fan. Next up, Texas Tech comes to Ames Tuesday night on ESPN+ (Obligatory eyeroll at ESPN+).