It wasn’t so much a magical act, unless Iowa State broke out a special turning stick to wave when Kansas State was operating offensively. The 12th-ranked Cyclones shot 57% with an efficient attack that was often aided by K-State turnovers.
That was the magic potion at the spot known to have carried Hilton Magic — Hilton Coliseum — in Tuesday night’s Iowa State 80-76 win. It was K-State’s second straight loss after the Cats lost both Texas and Baylor in the preseason. The fifth-place Wildcats committed 14 turnovers to earn 25 points for the ISU.
Gabe Kalscheur rolled into a deep, upward two-point look as the clock ticked to :45, giving Iowa State a late four-point lead. Keyontae Johnson halved the lead on a sweet Cats inbound play before Osun Osunniyi shared at the two-line. The Cyclones made five free throws in the last 24 seconds, drawing with K-State and Texas for first place.
Jaren Holmes also threw some deep darts at ISU fans’ Wildcat voodoo dolls. His drive and dropping the glass gave the Cyclones a 54-46 lead before the 10-minute mark. Holmes finished with 23 points and made 8 of 11 shots. Kalsscheur added 19 points to his own 7-of-11.
For the Cats, Markquis Nowell had 23 points with 9 assists, though three of his four turnovers resulted in Cyclones hoops. That was a common theme for the ISU, which got its offensive rolling early on due to wildcat errors. That and offensive boards, not a huge lead (9-6) but a 17-7 spread in second chance points, like Kalscheur’s deep basket within 1:00.
Cyclones built a 10-point lead approaching the 8½-minute mark before K-State charged back within two just three minutes later. Ish Massoud put two 3-point shots around one from Nowell to reduce the ISU lead to five. At 5:45 Nowell spun high off the glass in a drive to pull the Cats within 60-59. After Caleb Grill’s wing-3 went more off the offensive glass, Nowell earned a pair at the line for a two-point play after 5 minutes.
Iowa State found stability at the free-throw line and by equalizing from Osunniyi on the inside on Massoud. That got ISU 2 FTs, a dunk and layup for a 70-64 advantage with under 3s left.
K-State survived a turnover surge that allowed the Cyclones to build a five-point lead at 10:00 in the first half. Tykei Greene worked for a stick back after a Nae’Qwan Tomlin dunk as the Wildcats began to run better from the inside out. Cam Carter got on the lane twice in the third and fourth ties of the game before Nowell broke through the defense for a last-minute score and a 33-31 half-time lead. Carter was solid with 13 points in the first half and finished with 15. ISU led multiple bodies against Johnson, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Massoud added 13 points, but neither he nor Abayomi Iyiola nor Tomlin pulled down a board (ISU 28-20 advantage).
Iowa State protected its home stadium to go 11-0 at Hilton in the season. Prior to Tuesday, K-State had been going 11-0 in the season when it was ahead or tied at halftime.