After rebounding from two lopsided losses in Big 12 play, No. 23 Iowa State will try to continue its turnaround against Missouri in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday afternoon in Ames, Iowa.
The Cyclones (15-5) are coming off a thrilling 84-81 overtime victory at Oklahoma State on Wednesday. That win came on the heels of losses to Texas Tech on Jan. 18 and TCU four days later.
Cyclones guard Izaiah Brockington scored 26 points to lead the charge against the Cowboys.
"We had to match their intensity, all game," Brockington said. "They really brought it, but through the highs and the lows, we just kind of looked ahead to the next play, didn't let ourselves get rattled, and focused on what we had to do next."
That road victory boosted Iowa State's NCAA Tournament resume, but Brockington shrugged off its impact.
"It improves the record, and makes it a little easier to look at, but it's really just on to the next one for us," he said. "It's a good win, we needed one on the road, and it's on to the next."
Iowa State returns home to face Missouri (8-11) as the challenge between the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference brings a welcome change in opponents.
"I like the fact that everyone plays the games in one day, so it is a true series," Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger said. "We are confident in our league and feel like we are the best league in America. So, it is a great chance with a lot of national TV games, to go out and prove that. So, I think it is a great opportunity, and we are excited to play in front of our fans on Saturday."
Missouri got Iowa State's attention by nearly upsetting No. 1 Auburn at home before dropping a 55-54 decision on Tuesday.
"We feel like we're a good team, as good as anybody," said Javon Pickett, who scored 17 points against Auburn. "I feel like we went out there and proved that (Tuesday). We've just got to go finish and close."
Kobe Brown averages team-leading totals in points (13.5) and rebounds (8.7) points, but he has totaled 33 points in the team's last five losses.
"I thought he was aggressive, but one thing I told him, 'Don't play around with (the ball). Make your move. Catch and shoot. Drive the ball,'" Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. "Because as he's playing with the ball, you allow the defense to get set. Make quick moves, get the switch you want and make the next play."
Like Missouri, Iowa State has struggled with its 3-point accuracy.
The Cyclones were shooting 32.3 percent behind the arc heading into the game against Oklahoma State game. They responded by making 12 of 28 shots from 3-point range versus the Cowboys.
Iowa State freshman Tyrese Hunter continued his development by scoring 18 points in that game, including five in overtime.
"At the end of the day, we don't have time for him to be a freshman anymore," Otzelberger said. "I know he is 18, but we're counting on him. He made some huge plays in overtime."
--Field Level Media