Iowa State Cyclones guard Tamin Lipsey (3) and Iowa State Cyclones forward Robert Jones (12) defend as Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Javon Small (12) tries to drive during the first half in the Big-12 conference showdown of an NCAA college basketball at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK
AMES — Tamin Lipsey stripped away five steals. Hason Ward soared for four dunks. And paint-dwelling forward Tre King drained his third 3-pointer of the season.
It was that kind of night for Iowa State on Saturday as the Cyclones dismantled Oklahoma State, 66-42, before a paid, but blizzard-affected crowd of 14,267 at Hilton Coliseum.
“We really wanted to knock them out out early, stay aggressive and keep our foot on the gas the entire time,” said King, who scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
The Cyclones (13-3, 2-1 Big 12) trailed 15-10 early before springing a 12-0 run on the Cowboys (9-7, 0-3) to help build a 37-26 halftime lead.
Lipsey led ISU with 17 points while recording four or more steals for the sixth time this season. Ward, a senior, matched freshman forward Milan Momcilovic with 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting and he did that in just 18 minutes in a game that was originally slated to start at 5 p.m., but was pushed back more than two hours because of Oklahoma State’s weather-related travel woes.
“(Ward) is so disruptive,” said Cyclone head coach T.J. Otzelberger, whose team ended the Cowboys’ two-game win streak at Hilton during his tenure. “His length, his athleticism, the way he’s pressuring the basketball, I mean, he’s taken a big jump as a player and obviously he came in and impacted the game immediately. Now, I kind of challenged him, because I wasn’t sure early if a few of those rebounds, he was trying to pad his stats a little bit playing catch with himself, but once he got through that he was so efficient.”
Oklahoma State committed 20 turnovers and shot just 32 percent from the field. ISU outscored the Cowboys 42-16 in the paint and 20-7 in points off of turnovers.
“They played great,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton said. “We played (not great). And when that happens in this league, there’s not a whole lot you can expect in terms of having an opportunity to win. So, disappointed in our lack of fight, really. I thought they punched us in the mouth (midway through the first half) and we never really responded.”
Otzelberger said some of his veteran players such as Robert Jones and King likely considered it an affront that the Cowboys had been the only conference team to go 2-0 at Hilton in the past two seasons. Those two games weren’t particularly close, either, and it showed as the Cyclones notched their most lopsided Big 12 win since trouncing Texas Tech, 84-50, almost a year ago to the day.
“We take it to heart when we’re underdogs on our home court, or when someone calls us that,” Otzelberger said in reference to Tuesday’s win over No. 2 Houston in which the Cougars were favored by 2.5 points. “Well, we also have a tremendous sense of pride when somebody came in here and was able to have success, it’s not gonna happen again.”
Not Saturday, anyway. And not by a long shot. The Cyclones climbed into a four-way tie for third place in the league standings with an always-daunting trip to No. 18 BYU (13-3, 1-2) looming on Tuesday.
“It’s a tough place to play on the road, so we’re gonna have to be very mentally tough going in there and understanding the environment,” Otzelberger said. “When you play in a really tough road venue, how you need to respond to adversity and play (is important), so it’s gonna be a challenge but our guys are gonna be up for the challenge.”