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Lipsey is back: Iowa State ready to unveil secret weapon in second matchup with TCU

Tyler Coe
Tamin Lipsey takes a deep breath on a free throw against Houston at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 9, 2023.

After surviving the trip to Texas, the Cyclones have another tough challenge ahead as they host TCU in hopes of securing their first sweep of the season.

The last time the two teams met, Iowa State snuck out with a win after TCU stormed back from an early deficit. Even without star point guard Tamin Lipsey, the Cyclones got the job done on defense and cooled off a hot TCU team.

Now at Hilton, the Cyclones are hoping to use what they learned from their last meeting along with a healthy Lipsey to secure yet another home win.

Lipsey should present a new threat for TCU, as he has been airtight through Big 12 play. Iowa State is coming off a win at Texas where Lipsey took over the game in the final minutes to secure Iowa State its win. Now, he is more than ready and confident that he will perform against the Horned Frogs.

“They haven’t played against me this year,” Lipsey said.

A handful of Cyclones had to step up in the last meeting with TCU, as Keshon Gilbert and Curtis Jones played a key role in the outcome of that game.

Gilbert was a menace on the floor and put the game away late, while Curtis Jones snagged seven steals as his defensive presence looked vaguely familiar to Lipsey. As the Big 12 season rolled on and the TCU game shrunk further into the rear-view mirror, Gilbert and Curtis Jones have continued to gain momentum.

“Biggest credit to [Lipsey] not being on the court. [Gilbert] and [Curtis Jones] were able to step up,” Robert Jones said.

Although Lipsey was not on the court at TCU, he used the opportunity to his advantage and studied the Horned Frogs from the sideline. Lipsey did wish he could have been out on the floor later in the game however, as his leadership late in games has shown through in Iowa State’s success in conference play.

Despite letting up a large run that cut the lead to one point at the buzzer, Lipsey’s confidence never wavered.

“I always knew our guys would pull through,” Lipsey said.

Now it is time for Lipsey to be a part of the Cyclones’ game plan going forward as he looks to be that game changer late in another Hilton brawl.

Despite Lipsey’s availability this time around, Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger made it clear that nothing changes even with different personnel on the court. The focus remains the same: defend Hilton.

That starts with playing to the identity the Cyclones have built throughout the season. That identity does not falter even if Lipsey plays or not.

“That doesn’t change a whole lot. Whether he’s guarding the ball or [Gilbert’s] guarding the ball, we’re gonna pressure the basketball,” Otzelberger said.

Although TCU has had a tougher go of things in Big 12 than Iowa State, the Horned Frogs are ready for a miracle upset in the coliseum that has proved to be one of the toughest places to win in the nation. Nearly every giant in the Big 12 that entered Hilton left with a loss, and Iowa State is hoping to keep it that way.

Since the loss to Iowa State, TCU has had time to prepare for the Cyclones and figure out what caused the historic turnover-heavy loss. Otzelberger knows that the TCU coming to Hilton will be no slouch as all the teams in the Big 12 are a challenge.

“There’s a lotta things I’m sure they’ll adjust and do at a higher level than what they did last game,” Otzelberger said.

However, Iowa State will have a chance to adjust as well. In the weeks following the win against TCU, Iowa State had a perfect week at home, taking down a top-10 team, and competed well on the road against Baylor while also taking down Texas.

Despite the accomplishments, the Cyclones are hungry for more. They know that they cannot be satisfied with where they are at because there is more on the table to obtain. The key to victory against TCU and any Big 12 team going forward is having a “one game at a time” mentality.

“Not being content with where we are or what we’ve done up to this point,” Lipsey said. “Just take every game as our last opportunity.”

The Cyclones will be back home against TCU at 1 p.m. Saturday. The game will be aired live on ESPN2.

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