The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Three Big Takeaways: Robert Jones, Tre King power Cyclones over Kansas State

Tyler Coe
Robert Jones dribbles the ball at the top of the key at the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament game against Kansas State, T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, March 14, 2024.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Cyclones were dead set on revenge against Kansas State, as they ran away with the first game of their Big 12 Tournament 76-57.

Although Kansas State got the last laugh in the regular season, Iowa State was playing with an added fire the second time around. Halfway through the second, the Cyclones shifted into second gear and ran away with the game.

After a whirlwind end to the season and a lull on offense, the Cyclones pieced it all together when the lights were the brightest.

Iowa State gets back to old self

Early on, it was clear that shots were not going to fall easily for the Cyclones. That was the trend through the end of the regular season, and that was the case in the first 25 minutes.

With shots not falling, the Cyclones had to hang their hat on defense yet again. That was something that came as no surprise to the Cyclones.

Turnovers were the name of the game, as the Cyclones started forcing turnovers at a high rate. As Iowa State fell into a drought of over four minutes, Kansas State still could not chip the lead.

Throughout the game, 3-pointers were not falling for the Cyclones, as they finished the game knocking down 1-of-14. However, that came as no concern to Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger as his defensive mindset bled into the team and kept the lead from diminishing.

“If we defend, and we rebound and we share the basketball, I don’t think it’s gonna be a factor, and it wasn’t a factor tonight,” Otzelberger said about the 3-point shooting.

With four minutes left in the half, Kansas State was nearing 10 turnovers while Iowa State was sitting at two. Just over 28 minutes into the game, Kansas State had more turnovers than it had all of Saturday.

Along with the turnovers, the points off of turnovers were flipped from the game in Manhattan, Kansas. Iowa State scored 23 points off 20 turnovers, while Kansas State scored just nine points off six turnovers.

“We got back to doing what we do defensively,” Otzelberger said.

Tre King blows the door wide open

With Iowa State clinging to a small lead at the half, the second saw another back-and-forth game unfold.

Whenever Kansas State roared back into the game, Iowa State would get defensive stops or force key turnovers to maintain its six-point lead.

At some point, the Cyclones knew they would turn on their offense, so until that happened, they relied on their defense.

“Continuing to do what we do. Being okay with getting stops. Being okay with being physical,” Robert Jones said.

Midway through the second half, Iowa State’s offense finally clicked. Kansas State had stormed back to cut Iowa State’s lead to one point.

After missing a wide-open corner three, Milan Momcilovic knocked down a midrange shot at the buzzer. Shortly after, Tamin Lipsey barreled toward the rim after a shot bounced off and put back a layup while also drawing a foul.

Tre King dunks the ball in the first half of the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament game against Kansas State, T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, March 14, 2024. (Jacob Rice)

In the matter of minutes, Iowa State was on a 14-2 run and had rebuilt its lead.

“When we saw the lead was cut down to one, in our mind, just to really focus on getting those stops and being disruptive and getting back to what we do,” Tre King said.

Following the run, King started to heat up. He missed a dunk but knocked down both his free throws after getting fouled on the next possession.

Shortly after, King got another chance at his dunk. As he slammed the ball home, the T-Mobile Center lit up similarly to Hilton.

After the electric play, King knocked down a midrange shot to put the Cyclones up by 19 points.

With five minutes left in the game, King put the game out of reach for Kansas State.

It was not just King who was fueling the offense. Jones did his part in powering the Cyclones past the Wildcats.

“I give [Jones] and [King] all the credit in the world, because they made the offense go,” Otzelberger said.

Big Rob Energy lights up Hilton South

Throughout the night, it was Jones who kept the offense moving.

Whether it was his floaters in the paint or his free-throw shooting, Jones had an efficient night when it mattered most. He was the leading scorer all night, as he finished with 18 points.

Along with his team-leading 18 points, Jones also knocked down six of his seven free throws and missed just two shots all night.

“I wasn’t focusing on what I was doing well. I was just focusing on the little things,” Jones said.

With Jones’ floater dialed in, nearly every Cyclone was feeding him in the lane. His hot night kept the Cyclones alive and kept Kansas State from repeating what it did Saturday.

However, Jones knew that he was not doing anything special. He was doing all the little things right and sticking to his defense, so when the ball found him, he was ready.

“Doing what I could control, and then the ball came back to find me,” Jones said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *