AMES — The state of Iowa suffered a heavy loss to the state of Oklahoma over the weekend in Stillwater. To get back on track, the Cyclones would host the country’s fifth-ranked team, the Kansas State Wildcats, on Tuesday.
After being in pain for most of Saturday’s game, starting supervisor Caleb Grill was able to start Tuesday’s game in the starting line-up. As with last Tuesday’s game at the Hilton against Texas, the Coliseum was as full as it could be, an impressive crowd, certainly for a Tuesday night.
Tamin Lipsey built the first bucket for the ISU to get the crowd going. Gabe Kalscheur also made a pretty early jumper for the Cyclones, but Cam Carter helped the Wildcats to a quick 14-10 lead on the road.
As the half progressed, ISU regained the lead with a three-pointer from Kalscheur, where Jaren Holmes in particular began running back a bit before the shot came, showing his teammate the utmost confidence and enthusiasm to parry the shot.
Holmes then rattled in a short jump to extend the lead to three and Hilton Coliseum was nearing the loudest levels of the season, certainly helped in part by the defensive effort.
Midway through that stretch, the Wildcats once had a scoring drought that lasted over four minutes. On the other hand, Lipsey had a couple of offensive rebounds that he also had to cut back.
Hason Ward had a great steal near halfcourt where he picked up the ball and took it the other way for the slam on the fastbreak, a clear highlight of the game. Despite this, the game remained very close and the Wildcats took a point lead at the other end.
A little over five minutes before halftime, the ISU held a one-point lead at 25-24. After drawing a foul, Kalscheur hit another step back, with a quick backtrack from dribble, and nothing but the net.
Osun Osunniyi had some really strong possessions on defence, first making a very impressive block and then taking over an attack to force two turnovers. At halftime in this energetic game, Kansas State went into the break with a two-point lead.
Lipsey also helped the home side start the second half in a great way, with a layup after a set piece from Caleb Grill, along with a nice dribbling move into a knight. However, Nowell responded to retake the lead.
Holmes also got into a better rhythm at halftime, with a one finish followed by another nice short jumper to give Iowa State a two-point lead.
Holmes then hit a three from the top of the button, bouncing Hilton in unison and reveling in the Cyclones’ six-point lead for the moment. As if the goal wasn’t enough, Holmes found Tre King on a dime for a simple slam dunk to give ISU the 49-42 lead.
Iowa State had a double-digit lead, but a three-pointer from Ismael Massoud reduced the Wildcats’ deficit to seven, prompting a timeout from Jerome Tang. Holmes continued to be the go-to person for the ISU, particularly in the second half, and helped keep Kansas State in check for the time being.
Massoud hit another big three, and just two minutes later the Wildcats were just a minute behind. Perhaps the loudest cheer of the night came as the Cyclones ensued possession, where a clearly battered Caleb Grill smashed in a triple.
This game absolutely lived up to the hype as each impressive team traded late shots, went shot for shot, floored and then some. Iowa State had a four-point lead, with 3:28 to play in regulation.
Lipsey and Osunniyi had great chemistry late, including a nice lob and finish for Osunniyi to keep the Cyclones comfortable with the lead up to that point. Then, with the Wildcats just two behind, Osunniyi made another lay-in to hold the ISU to four before KSU responded.
ISU had a two-point lead with less than a minute to play, and whoever but Kalscheur pulled up, dribbled to the left and hit a fadeaway jumper to get the crowd on their feet. With 33 seconds remaining, the Cyclones were leading 75-71.
Keyontae Johnson made a layup on a nice inbounds play by Kansas State, and Iowa State got the ball back by two with 26 seconds left. The Wildcats fouled Osunniyi, who took one of two off the line.
Nowell then missed a layup attempt, and Grill took his team to the line by three and 10 seconds for Tuesday’s game at Hilton, the capital of the college basketball world.
Grill, in pain and all, stepped up to the line and knocked them both out. Nowell was then fouled on a three, causing all three to come within just two points, 78-76.
Holmes went to the line at the other end for two free throws and made both too, helping the Cyclones maintain the 80-76 win to put Iowa State back in first place in the nation’s top conference.