Curtis Jones impresses like Cyclones know he can in 107-56 win

 Iowa State Cyclones guard Curtis Jones (5) takes a three-point shot over Prairie View A&M Panthers guard Orlando Horton, Jr. (12) during the first half of a NCAA college basketball at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

AMESCurtis Jones’s fifth 3-point shot attempt caromed high off the front of the rim, kissed the top of the backboard and tumbled through the net.

 Call it shooter’s touch, roll, or series of bounces, but the Iowa State reserve guard simply shrugged, smiled and played on.

 “It’s crazy, because there was a stop of possession soon after that and I was talking to (fellow Cyclone guard) Keshon (Gilbert), and I said, ‘It just must be my day,’ after that one went in,” said Jones, who sank his first five long-range shots en route to a game-high 22 points in ISU’s 107-56 trouncing of Prairie View A&M Sunday at Hilton Coliseum. “I didn’t think it was going in after it hit the top, but somehow, someway it did, so I was happy about it.”

 Gilbert added 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Cyclones (8-2), who shot 60 percent or better from the field for the second time this season. Sophomore point guard Tamin Lipsey totaled 19 points and scraped away eight steals. The latter number broke a program record shared by fellow Ames High School graduate Fred Hoiberg and Justus Thigpen, who each notched seven in a single game in the early 1990s.

 “We’re not far away from the (first career) triple-double he had (at DePaul) and yet, at the end of it, with Tamin it’s never about the numbers,” ISU head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “It’s always about the character. It’s always about the hard work. It may or may not be about shattering some of the records from a guy called ‘The Mayor’ that went to his high school.”

 The Panthers (4-4) led by as many as four points early, but ISU’s 18-3 run midway through the first half built a double-digit lead that would grow exponentially in the second half.

 Both teams combined for 54 turnovers, but the Cyclones held a 34-19 edge in points scored off of those many miscues. ISU also set season highs in free throw makes (36) and attempts (48), and outscored the quick, but undersized Panthers 44-16 in the paint.

 “We take a lot of pride in scoring the basketball in the paint, so if you’re gonna try to keep us out of there, that’s our hope — that we do get to the foul line a lot,” Otzelberger said. “So you have 48 free throws and 44 paint points, for our team, we want to be that downhill, attacking team in transition, (or) after something breaks down. We want to get right back in there.”

 Jones finally missed a few shots in the second half, but finished 6 of 8 from 3-point range and 6 of 10 overall. ISU went a blistering 9-for-15 from beyond the arc and has converted 24 of its last 49 attempts from long range in the past three games. Jones stood out the most, though, as he improved to 8-for-12 from the 3-point line in the past three games.

 “We have no doubt that he can do that every game,” Lipsey said. “We see it every day. We’ve seen it since the summer. We know that he can score the ball. I remember in the Bahamas when he had, like, 30 points, so it’s gonna happen multiple times this year. You’re gonna see it often. We know he can shoot the ball and I’m gonna keep looking for him.”