Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The 17th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones play their final game of the 2014-15 regular season when they tangle with the TCU Horned Frogs at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center on Saturday night.
Iowa State stopped a two-game losing streak by posting a historic come-from- behind win at home versus Oklahoma last Monday, 77-70. It was the 21st victory of the season for the Cyclones, who improved to 15-1 at home and to 11-6 in Big 12 play. They are in a battle with the Sooners for second place in the conference standings, as Kansas has already claimed yet another regular-season title.
TCU got off to a great start to the 2014-15 campaign by winning its first 13 games. The beginning of Big 12 play, however, cut the Frogs off at the knees as they've gone just 4-13 since. They are currently mired in a two-game losing streak, having dropped a pair of decisions to the two Big 12 schools from the state of Oklahoma in the last week.
Iowa State was an 83-66 winner in the first meeting between the two teams in Ames back on Jan. 31, as Georges Niang scored a game-high 23 points as one of four double-digit scorers for the Cyclones, who shot 56.4 percent from the field and logged a 16-1 edge in points at the foul line. The Horned Frogs were led by Trey Zeigler with 14 points.
As it stands, the all-time series leans in favor of Iowa State by a 6-5 margin, and the Cyclones have won the last five meetings. TCU's last home win in the series was back in 1981.
Having scored a paltry 18 points in the first half of last Monday's game against Oklahoma, the Cyclones knew they had some serious ground to make up if they wanted to get back into contention. And that's just what happened as they outscored the Sooners over the final 20 minutes, 59-33, to pull out the seven- point win and match the largest comeback in school history. An improbable 22-0 run in the final frame was the catalyst, as Niang produced 23 points, Monte' Morris 19 and Jameel McKay a double-double consisting of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Oklahoma was held to 35.5 percent field goal efficiency on the night, which included a 6-of-24 showing from 3-point range.
Iowa State is the top scoring team in the Big 12 (79.0 ppg), but it is also the worst defensive squad (69.4 ppg). The Cyclones are hitting their field goals a league-best 48.2 percent of the time, and the 3-pointers drop at a 36.2 percent clip. They also pace the conference in assists (16.8 apg), with Morris ranking No. 1 with 5.3 per outing. Niang is the fourth-most potent scorer in the Big 12, netting 15.1 ppg to go with 5.4 rpg and nearly 100 assists (97). Five others average double figures for ISU as well, ranging from 10.3 ppg to 11.3 ppg to demonstrate the kind of offensive balance most teams strive to achieve.
TCU put forth a valiant effort in its recent clash with Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys converted 11-of-17 3-point tries and committed only five turnovers in picking up the double-digit win. The Horned Frogs shot 45.1 percent from the field, but missed nine of their 13 long-range launches. They were led by Kyan Anderson with 23 points, as he hit all 10 of his free throws in helping the team to a 20-of-29 performance at the stripe overall. Amric Fields (14 points) and Zeigler (10 points) finished in double figures as well for TCU.
For the season, the Horned Frogs are averaging 68.2 ppg while permitting just 61.3 ppg, and they feature only one double-digit scorer in Anderson (13.5 ppg). He is also the team's primary playmaker, having dished out 128 assists while also coming up with 40 steals. TCU (.392) is one of six teams in the Big 12 holding the opposition under 40 percent shooting from the floor, and the Frogs are also among the league leaders in blocked shots (5.4 bpg, second) and assist-to-turnover margin (1.12, third).