Cyclones turn attention to Missouri in Big 12/SEC Challenge


Iowa State guard Tyrese Hunter plays against TCU on Jan. 22 at Hilton Coliseum.

James Powell

Iowa State’s rigorous Big 12 schedule has landed it at a 3-5 inter-conference record through eight games.

But now, the Cyclones get a break from the rugged Big 12 slate to take on the Missouri Tigers (8-11, 2-5 SEC) at Hilton Coliseum Saturday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

This comes on the heels of a nail-biting 45 minutes of basketball in Stillwater, where the Cyclones came out with an over-time victory against Oklahoma State. The score margin never rose above four for either team, and was hotly contested throughout.

It took some fight from a team that has struggled at times to hang around an offensive battle, and freshman Tyrese Hunter knows his team showed some much-needed resilience to come out with the big road win.

“We just kept fighting, we didn’t give up,” Hunter said. “Nobody hung their heads, nobody dwelled on the last play, we just kept going and striving and worrying about the next play.”

Now, the Cyclones shift their attention to a Missouri team that is currently sitting at 12th place in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

The Tigers are led in almost every statistical category by junior forward Kobe Brown. Brown averages 13.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and just under a block per game.

Last time out, Missouri welcomed the No.1 Auburn Tigers to town and hung around throughout the game to lose by one, 55-54. Missouri has a quality win over Alabama, who was ranked No.15 at the time.

Missouri ranks near the bottom in just about every statistical category, aside from free throws. The Tigers are fifth in the SEC, shooting them at a 72.5 percent clip. Iowa State makes 69.4 percent of their free throws, and it was arguably their biggest source of trouble against Oklahoma State.

In that game, they made eight of their 16 free throws attempts, or 50 percent. This included an 0-4 showing from Gabe Kalscheur, who had a forgettable night overall on offense.

His two biggest misses at the charity stripe came with a minute and 21 seconds left in the game, with a chance to tie the game at 72. While Brockington would eventually knot the game up a minute later, misses at the free throw line have been costly for Iowa State at times throughout the season.

It was free throws that did seal it at the end for the Cyclones, as Tre Jackson knocked down the first two free throws he had attempted all season to put the game away. Iowa State doesn’t get to the line as often as other teams in the Big 12, so making their free throws when they do get there could prove to be important.

While Missouri isn’t having a successful season in terms of their record, veteran big man George Conditt knows they can’t count out the Tigers based on record alone.

“It’s a big challenge,” Conditt said to the media Friday. “[Missouri] isn’t a team that’s defined by their record, so we can’t take them lightly at all… we just have to go out there and play our game, play with physicality and dominate on the defensive end.”

The game will tip-off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum and can be seen on ESPNU.