By Ian Smith, CycloneFanatic.com Contributor
Follow Ian on Twitter @IanWsmith3
If the Big 12 is an 18-game slugfest, then Royce White and Iowa State just landed the first knockout.
Behind its big man, the Cyclones (12-3, 2-0) beat up Texas A&M on Saturday, rolling to a 74-50 win in College Station. The victory is the Cyclones second-straight to start conference play. The 24-point margin ties the largest Big 12 road win in school history.
White did the most damage against the Aggies. The sophomore recorded a triple double with 10 points, 10 assists and 18 rebounds. White is the fourth Iowa State player to accomplish the feat and the first since Curtis Stinson in 2006.
The impressive performance sparked the comfortable win. With White leading the way, Iowa State hit shots from all over the court and showed they belong with the Big 12’s elite.
Texas A&M came into Saturday’s game giving up only 56.2 points per game and allowed opponents to make 35.9 percent of their shots. Once again, that was before Saturday’s game. Iowa State hit 47 percent from the field and made eight 3-pointers.
Chris Babb and Chris Allen started the 3-point barrage with a pair of treys to give the Cyclones a 19-9 lead.
Later in the first half, Scott Christopherson went the basket and scored a traditional 3-point play for a 31-16 edge.
Allen drilled another 3-pointer before halftime to help Iowa State race to a 42-23 advantage.
White continued to dazzle after the break and the Aggies never threatened. Melvin Ejim finished with 15 points to lead the Cyclones. Christopherson (13), Babb (11) and Allen (10) all scored in double figures.
Player of the Game
Saturday’s game was like a 40-minute infomercial for Royce White. The sophomore dominated from start to finish, notching the rare triple double.
White is matchup nightmare for Iowa State opponents. When the forward isn’t scoring around the hoop, he is finding teammates for open shots.
White’s effortless dominance sparked the Cyclones in their 74-50 win.
Fast start: Iowa State missed its first seven shots on Saturday, so how did the Cyclones get off to a fast start? By hitting 16 of their next 24 attempts to close out the first half.
Chris Babb, Chris Allen and Anthony Booker all hit 3-pointers in the opening minutes to push Iowa State to a 22-9 lead. Scott Christopherson played his usual steady brand of basketball to help the Cyclones go ahead.
At halftime, the Cyclones were hitting 51.6 percent of their shots and led by 19 points.
Shooting: The Cyclones are a confident bunch these days. Need proof? Iowa State made 47 percent of its shots against the best defensive team in the Big 12.
Long 3-pointers gave the Cyclones an early boost and led to the easy win. Chris Babb, Chris Allen, Scott Christopherson and Anthony Booker all connected from downtown against the Aggies.
Iowa State didn’t just settle for 3’s though. The Cyclones attacked the hoop with success, especially in the second half.
If Iowa State continues to shoot like they did against Texas A&M, watch out.
Killer instinct: Fred Hoiberg’s frustration after the Mississippi Valley State game was clearly visible. His biggest complaint was his team’s lack of killer instinct.
That’s changed in a hurry with the start of Big 12 play. For the second consecutive game, the Cyclones shut the door on their opponent.
Against Texas A&M on Saturday, Iowa State took a 42-23 lead into halftime. The Aggies didn’t get any closer in the second half – a big change from just a week ago when they blew an 18-point advantage against MVSU.
Free throws: There’s really not much to choose from for “Three Down.” The Cyclones’ completely manhandled Texas A&M on Saturday. If there has to be a negative, it could be Iowa State’s free throw shooting.
The Cyclones went 10-of-16 from the charity stripe for a 62.5 percent. That’s not great, but still shows an improvement from the previous two games.