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Kansas caught in the storm as Tre King and the Cyclones rain down threes

Joseph Dicklin
Celebrating a Hilton Magic win, Iowa State storms the court after a 79-75 victory over Kansas on Jan. 27, 2024 in Hilton Coliseum.

AMES — Tre King lived up to the trey in his name as his hot night from beyond the arc fueled Iowa State’s 3-point clinic in its upset 79-75 win over No. 7 Kansas.

It all started from the opening minutes.

King was the first player with points on the board as he put back a missed layup from Keshon Gilbert. However, it was the next possession that would engage the Hilton crowd.

King was left wide open at the top of the key and let the ball fly. Nothing but net.

That same scenario would play out time and time again in Iowa State’s hottest night from beyond the arc. The key throughout was feeding King and company the ball and letting them shoot.

Throughout Big 12 play, King had only hit two 3-pointers. Along with that, he missed his only two attempts in the last game against Kansas State.

It was a safe bet for the Jayhawks that if they let King shoot, they would be safe. However, King was about to make them pay.

“We decided to put Hunter [Dickinson] on King and dare him to shoot, and he made four,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said.

King knew the likely gameplan going into the game for Kansas would see him open a handful of times from beyond the arc. Knowing that, he made the most of his opportunities.

“One thing we talked about in preparing for this game. A lotta guys are gonna hop off me, because they didn’t think I could shoot the ball,” King said.

It was a back-and-forth game throughout, but a scoreless four minutes for the Cyclones early on saw Kansas jump out to a commanding lead. Halfway through the first, the Cyclones were desperately searching for a sign of life.

That was when Dickinson sagged off of King yet again. Wide open in the corner, King drilled another three to ignite Hilton Coliseum.

“If they sag off of it. If it’s the right shot and the right time, take it and make it. Shoot it with confidence,” King said.

The confidence of King’s stroke bled into the rest of the team as 3-pointers were flying and falling with ease. Gilbert let a three fly following King’s made shot to give the Cyclones the lead. From then on, it was Iowa State who was the aggressor.

At halftime, the Cyclones were shooting 5-for-15 from deep. In most games in conference play, that statline would reflect the entire 40 minutes, not just the first 20.

The Cyclones were hot from beyond the arc, but they were about to get hotter.

King opened up the second half similar to the first. After missing a mid-range shot, he found himself wide open for a pass from Hason Ward off the rebound and sank another 3-pointer.

Shortly after, Tamin Lipsey drilled a three of his own.

Tamin Lipsey makes a jump shot to score three during the Iowa State vs. Kansas match on Jan. 27, 2024 in Hilton Coliseum. (Joseph Dicklin)

“Just playing in that atmosphere, you think every shot you’re taking is going in,” Lipsey said.

Early in the second half, King showed the Jayhawks that he was more than just a threat from deep. Lipsey fed a pass into the paint and King slammed it down to put the Cyclones up by eight points.

Just over five minutes into the half, King found himself wide open in the corner again. King was having himself a career day as he was nearing 20 points.

Up to that point, the Cyclones were perfect from beyond the arc. Not only was King hitting threes, Lipsey joined in and Curtis Jones followed.

Midway through the second half, Jones knocked down his first three of the day. He started the game 0-for-4 from deep but was about to go on a run that saw him knock down three in a row.

The Cyclones pushed their 3-point shooting up to 50% after hitting a perfect 6-of-6 shots to start the second half. As desperately as Kansas wanted to get back into the game, Iowa State was not about to let that happen.

“I don’t think it’s as much of a fluke shooting effort, as much as a group of guys who are really hungry to get a win,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said.

With Kansas clawing back into the game, King was the one to break Iowa State’s cold streak. With time running out on the shot clock, King took a page out of Milan Momcilovic’s book and hit a mid-range fadeaway.

That brought his point total up to 21. Shortly after, King got a stop on defense to keep the Cyclones in the game.

“When it was needed, we got the stops, and we got timely baskets and we made big shots,” Otzelberger said.

No bigger shot came than the one late in the game as Kansas was knocking on the door of a comeback. A pair of 3-pointers from Kansas and a made free throw put the Jayhawks within two points.

With a minute left in the game, the Cyclones needed a productive possession to put the game away. As time was running out on the shot clock, Gilbert drove out of the lane and had to put up a shot before the buzzer.

Gilbert let it fly from deep over two defenders. The shot hit. Iowa State was leading by five with little to no time left in the game.

“In the first half we ran the same play, and two came to me, and I had to kick it to [Momcilovic]. They kinda guarded a little different. I really didn’t have nowhere to go, so I hit them with a little move, and I just shot it,” Gilbert said. “I was lucky enough for it to go in.”

At the end of the day, it was an Iowa State 3-pointer that finished the game the same way it opened it up. The Cyclones as a team finished the game shooting 14-for-30 from beyond the arc.

An area that had been a struggle for the Cyclones in the past came back to be the driving force in the win. The Cyclones remained undefeated at home after knocking off another giant in the Big 12.

“When you have a team that usually makes four threes a game make 14, it definitely makes it more challenging,” Dickinson said.

“A lot of it was, they made shots they hadn’t been making, statistically this year. We played the percentages thinking coming up here that would be the smart play,” Self said. “They made us pay for it. They shot it great.”

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