Wildcats visit Cyclones in pivotal Big 12 bout

Ames, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams coming off big wins over ranked opponents get together on Tuesday evening, as the Kansas State Wildcats tangle with the ninth-ranked Iowa State Cyclones in Big 12 Conference action at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas State battled from behind to upset No. 22 Baylor on Saturday, 63-61. It was the fourth straight win for the Wildcats, who improved to 11-7 overall and 4-1 in conference. As a result, KSU finds itself tied atop the Big 12 standings entering the week. The triumph also ran the team's home record to 8-2. However, the 'Cats are just 1-3 in true road games, 3-5 outside of Manhattan all together when you add in their 2-2 record in neutral-site encounters.

Iowa State bounced back from a one-point loss at Baylor last week to knock off No. 9 Kansas at home, 86-81. The win moved the Cyclones to 13-3 on the season, and it was their third positive outcome in four Big 12 bouts. It also improved the squad to 9-0 in Ames this season. ISU has won three of its last four games, all of which were against opponents that were either ranked at the time, or are presently. Going back a bit further, the Cyclones have won 16 consecutive home games, including nine in a row against Big 12 rivals.

Kansas State owns a 136-82 lead in the all-time series with Iowa State, but the Cyclones have won five of the last seven meetings.

Trailing by 14 points at one point, Kansas State used a 17-2 run in the second half to take control of its recent clash with Baylor. Nino Williams scored 18 points, Marcus Foster added 11 more, and the Wildcats shot 50 percent from the floor in the game, including a near 60 percent effort after the break. Tough defense helped matters greatly, as the Bears were limited to 38.2 percent field goal efficiency, and they were guilty of 15 turnovers. K-State lost the battle on the boards (30-26), but outscored its guests in the paint (24-20) and at the free-throw line (13-11).

Kansas State is anything but an offensive force, the team generating only 65.6 ppg. Where it has really excelled though is at the defensive end, as foes are netting just 62.4 ppg while being outworked on the glass by an average of 3.1 rpg. The Wildcats are pretty much even in terms of turnover differential, and they average nearly 14 assists per tilt. Foster paces the team in scoring with 13.6 ppg, doing so on the strength of his 45.2 percent shooting effort from 3- point range. Thomas Gipson (11.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Williams (10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) round out the double-digit scorers for KSU, while Jevon Thomas (3.7 apg) serves as its primary playmaker.

Iowa State put on an impressive shooting display, particularly in the second half, in its recent win over Kansas, finding the bottom of the net on 50.8 percent of its field goal attempts. In all, six players reached double figures for the Cyclones, led by Naz Long with 20 points. George Niang added 15 points, Dustin Hogue another 14, and the trio was responsible for eight of the team's nine 3-pointers in the game. For their part, the Jayhawks connected on nearly 40 percent of their long-range launches, but they were nearly doubled up in points at the foul line (15-8). KU easily won the rebounding battle (44-33), but committed 15 turnovers while being outscored in the paint (40-34).

All five starters are averaging double figures, as the Cyclones produce a robust 80.3 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .490 overall and .360 from beyond the arc. Their defensive stance permits 66.9 ppg, as foes are connecting on just 40.9 percent of their total shots, which includes a 32.1 percent effort out on the perimeter. Niang paces the unit with 14.9 ppg, and he grabs 5.4 rpg while dishing out 3.5 apg to complete his solid stat line. Bryce Dejean-Jones (12.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is the club's top glass cleaner, while Monte' Morris (10.1 ppg, 5.9 apg) serves as its primary playmaker.