Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The 22nd-ranked Baylor Bears will try to secure their first winning streak of 2015, as they play host to the 11th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones for a Big 12 Conference clash at the Ferrell Center on Wednesday night.
Both teams come in having won 12 games on the season, and Iowa State is 2-0 in Big 12 action as well, having narrowly gotten past Oklahoma State (63-61) and West Virginia (74-72), the latter of which took place on the road this past Saturday. The Cyclones have yet to lose a true road game (2-0), although they sit at 4-2 away from Ames this season when you factor in their 2-2 mark in neutral-site affairs.
Baylor opened the conference portion of its schedule with a pair of losses to ranked rivals Oklahoma (73-63) and Kansas (56-55), but bounced back to win at TCU in overtime last Saturday, 66-59. The Bears have won eight of their nine home games this season, with the lone blemish coming just last week to the Jayhawks.
Iowa State owns a 17-10 series advantage over Baylor, but the Bears have won nine of the 11 meetings in Waco.
Iowa State knocked down 50 percent of its field goal attempts at West Virginia over the weekend, while allowing the Mountaineers just 32.4 percent success. The Cyclones drained six 3-pointers, while WVU hit seven, although it needed 29 tries in order to do so. Abdel Nader came off bench to score 19 points to lead ISU, which also got double-digit efforts from George Niang and Dustin Hogue with 16 and 11 points, respectively. WVU shot just 32.4 percent from the floor, but hung around thanks to the fact that it committed half the number of turnovers as Iowa State (9-18).
Niang is averaging 15.2 ppg to lead all five starters in double figures for the Cyclones, who put up 80.4 ppg in hitting 49 percent of their total shots, which includes a 34.5 percent showing from beyond the arc. Conversely, the team's enemies are netting 65.4 ppg in dropping 40.6 percent of their total shots, which encompasses their 31 percent performance from downtown. Iowa State owns favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.0) and turnovers (+2.1), with Bryce Dejean-Jones (12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) spearheading the effort on the glass, and Monte' Morris (10.0 ppg, 5.4 apg) serving as the club's primary playmaker.
Baylor put forth one of its worst shooting performances in recent memory against TCU, as the team made good on only 29.8 percent of its field goal attempts, which included a 1-of-12 showing from 3-point range. Fortunately, the Horned Frogs shot a mere 37.5 percent from the floor, while missing the mark on 11 of their 13 long-range launches. A resounding 31-15 edge in points from the foul line helped the Bears to victory, as Rico Gathers (17 points, 18 rebounds) and Taurean Prince (17 points. 10 rebounds) both logged double- doubles, and Kenny Chery chipped in with 13 points and six boards.
Prince sits atop a list of four double-digit scorers for Baylor, as he nets 12.1 ppg, while Gathers is one of a handful of players nationally averaging a double-double with his 10.1 points and 11.3 caroms per contest. The Bears are generating 68.7 ppg, but allow only 56.3 ppg. Opponents have found it particularly tough to get the 3-point shot to fall, as it does so only 27.2 percent of the time. Baylor owns a massive +10.2 rebounding margin, but it is nearly even in terms of turnover differential (+0.5).