Published January 08, 2015
Ames, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 19th-ranked Texas Longhorns begin a two- game road swing on Tuesday night when they venture to Hilton Coliseum for a Big 12 Conference bout with the 17th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones.
Texas has been on the charge in recent weeks, catching fire with wins in nine of its last 10 games to improve to 20-5 overall, and at 9-3 in the Big 12, it's just a game behind Kansas for first place with a matchup versus the Jayhawks on tap for Saturday. The Longhorns most recently made easy work of West Virginia last Saturday, 88-71.
Iowa State has been impressive in its own right of late with wins in four of its last five games, which includes a 70-64 triumph over Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones, who are 19-5 overall and 7-5 in conference action, have been fantastic on their home floor this season, winning 12-of-13 at Hilton Coliseum.
Texas leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 17-10, which includes a 86-76 victory in Austin in the first meeting this season on Jan. 18.
The Longhorns opened up a comfortable 11-point lead over the weekend versus WVU and never broke a sweat in the second stanza en route to the easy victory, as they shot a lofty 57.9 percent from the field and dominated the rebounding battle, 41-26. All five starters finished in double figures, led by Javan Felix and his 18 points. Cameron Ridley poured in 17 points, Isaiah Taylor netted 14, Demarcus Holland contributed 11 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals and Jonathan Holmes also scored 11.
Texas's stellar play on both ends of the floor has allowed it some breathing room between itself and its opponents, as it shoots 44.2 percent from the field for 76.9 ppg while allowing 69.9 ppg on just 39.7 percent shooting, and its rebounding margin (+8.1) ranks in the top-15 nationally. The squad isn't without its weaknesses, however. Although it makes more than 19 free throws per game, it does so at just a 66.7 percent clip. The balanced attack is paced by Holmes in the frontcourt with 13.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Felix (12.7 ppg) and Taylor (12.6 ppg) combine to hand out 6.4 apg, and Ridley shoots 54.4 percent from the field for 11.1 ppg to go with 8.0 rpg and 2.1 bpg.
The Cyclones coughed up an 18-point second-half lead to Texas Tech their last time out, but trailing by one with under three minutes to play, they closed out the game on a 9-2 run to finish the Red Raiders off. They outshot TTU from the floor, 51.9 percent to 37 percent, and won the turnover battle, 13-7. DeAndre Kane flirted with a triple-double, posting 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, while Georges Niang also scored 17 and Melvin Ejim and Naz Long put up 14 and 13, respectively.
Scoring points has been Iowa State's strong suit this season, as it makes good on 47.2 percent of its field goal tries for 84.1 ppg, with the latter ranking fifth-best in the nation. Its high point total allows it to successfully mask a lackluster defensive effort (73.7 ppg). Ejim is the Big 12's top scorer, pouring in 18.9 ppg on 52.1 percent field goal shooting and 78.3 percent at the foul to go with a team-best 8.6 rpg. Kane (15.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 6.1 apg) is an outstanding all-around performer, as he and UCLA's Kyle Anderson are the only players in the nation who average at least 15 points, six assists and six rebounds per contest. Niang brings 16.3 ppg to the table and Dustin Hogue joins Ejim in the frontcourt with 10.8 ppg and 8.5 rpg.