Cyclone men’s basketball faces Sooners in second to last home game


Tyler Coe

Osun Ossuniyi celebrates a two-handed slam against TCU on Feb. 15, 2023.

The regular season is quickly coming to an end for the Iowa State men’s basketball team as they will have their second to last home game Saturday.

The Cyclones are coming off yet another road loss, this time to Texas, and will face the Oklahoma Sooners, a team that is 3-12 in the Big 12 conference.

Nonetheless, Iowa State’s last game against the Sooners ended in a close 63-60 win for the Cyclones.

This time around, Iowa State will have Aljaz Kunc, who head coach T.J. Otzelberger said will be beneficial because he helps move the ball and space the floor.

“It gives us another scoring threat,” Otzelberger said. “He knows where he’s supposed to be [defensively].”

Otzelberger said when at their best, Oklahoma has the capability to become the aggressor, space the court offensively and not turn over the ball.

“They’re a good team…we know they’re not going to give up on anything,” Tamin Lipsey said. “We’re gonna really just focus down on defense, getting stops and rebounding.”

As for Iowa State turnovers, Otzelberger said their biggest challenges have come from players getting tired from playing many minutes and playing on the road against highly defensive pressuring teams.

Additionally, with fatigue setting in deep into the season, the Cyclones aren’t at 100% physically.

“It’s a grind,” Tamin Lipsey said. “It’s just focusing on the days off that you have and getting your body right.”

Oklahoma is just 1-7 on the road with that being a 68-63 win over Texas Tech on Jan. 7. However, the Sooners came close to beating No. 8 Texas back in December in a 69-70 loss and almost beat them Feb. 18 in an 85-83 game.

Nonetheless, Oklahoma does have some big wins under their belt after beating No. 2 Alabama 93-69 on Jan. 28 and No. 14 Kansas State on Feb. 14.

After having limited playing time and being out the past two games, Otzelberger said it is still a day-to-day basis with Caleb Grill and his back injury.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Lipsey said about being back to playing in Hilton. “We wish all of our games were in here [Hilton].”

Tip-off against Oklahoma is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum and can be watched on ESPNU.