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Feb 9, 2024 10:54 am

TCU hunting another top-15 win at No. 14 Iowa State

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After splitting a pair of games in the Lone Star State against Baylor and Texas, No. 14 Iowa State returns home for a Saturday Big 12 battle with upset-minded TCU in Ames, Iowa.

The visiting Horned Frogs (16-6, 5-4 Big 12) are aiming for their fifth top-15 win of the season and their third straight road victory. They have been idle since a 77-66 loss at home to Texas last Saturday.

Iowa State (17-5, 6-3) is undefeated at home this season and has a 13-game winning streak in Ames, including wins last month against Houston and Kansas.

The Cyclones posted a 70-65 win at Texas on Tuesday in which they led from start to finish, earning the program’s first victory in Austin since 2015. Iowa State attacked the offensive glass and grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, which led to 16 second-chance points.

“We knew how tough, how physical they would be,” Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger said after beating Texas. “I’m really proud of our guys for staying the course and finding the way against a really tough team.”

Iowa State’s strength has been on the defensive end, as the Cyclones allow just 66.9 points per game against Big 12 opponents, which ranks third in the conference. They also force 16.4 turnovers per game, leading the Big 12 in that category.

“I felt like Tamin (Lipsey) and Keshon (Gilbert) certainly did a lot of heavy lifting defensively, keeping them out of the paint,” Otzelberger said. “I also give a lot of credit to our frontline players, because there are a lot of ball screens being set out there. They’re highly competitive guys.”

TCU counters with an offense that averages 78.7 points per game in league play. Led by Emanuel Miller’s 16.4 points per contest, the Frogs shoot 47.0 percent from the field and have a balanced offense with four players averaging in double figures.

In addition to Miller, Trevian Tennyson leads the Big 12 in 3-point percentage at 47.0 percent and is 10-of-18 from beyond the arc in TCU’s last three games.

While the offense is strong, rebounding has been an issue for the Horned Frogs, and something coach Jamie Dixon looks to improve on Saturday.

“I apologize for not rebounding tonight,” Dixon said after the Texas loss. “That certainly was the difference. We drilled it these last couple days, and talked about it, and emphasized it, but we simply didn’t get it done. I’m disappointed by it.”

Iowa State’s top contributors have been remarkably consistent and tough to beat on their home floor. Gilbert and Lipsey average 13.9 and 13.5 points per game, respectively, and each has started at least 21 games. Milan Momcilovic, who led the team with 13 points at Texas, is averaging 12.9 points per game.

“We have to outrebound them and take care of the basketball,” Dixon said. “They’re going to play hard and get into us.”

Iowa State won the first meeting 73-72 on Jan. 20 in Fort Worth, Texas. Gilbert scored 20 points for the Cyclones and Tennyson topped TCU with 19.

–Field Level Media

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