Iowa State Cyclones forward Tre King (0) goes for a dunk around TCU Horned Frogs guard Trevian Tennyson (11)during the first half in the Big-12 conference showdown of a NCAA college basketball at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK
AMES — Big man Robert Jones deftly delivered three assists. Guard Keshon Gilbert dished out seven. And No. 14 Iowa State simply distributed the ball extremely efficiently Saturday against TCU, totaling 20 assists on 24 made field goals en route to a workmanlike 71-59 win over the Horned Frogs.
“I do think our guys — there’s no ego there in terms of where the shots coming from, where the points come from, who scores it,” Cyclone head coach T.J. Otzelberger said after his team improved to 18-5 overall and 7-3 in Big 12 play.
Senior forward Tre King led ISU with 15 points and Gilbert and fellow guard Curtis Jones added 13 points apiece to help their team complete a regular-season sweep of TCU (16-7, 5-5). The Horned Frogs failed to score at least 65 points in a game for the first time this season and trailed by at least seven points for the final 22 minutes.
“We didn’t match their physicality,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “They got the game the way they wanted it. They want physical. They got physical and knocked us all over the place.”
But the Cyclones’ familiar formula for success — forcing turnovers and scoring in transition — failed to materialize on Saturday. ISU poked away a Dixon-era record 27 turnovers to help beat the Horned Frogs, 73-72, last month in Fort Worth, but collected just 12 this time around. The Cyclones made up for that relatively low number with their aforementioned efficiency and by draining 15 of their 18 free throw attempts.
“We don’t really care who scores, to be honest,” said Jones, who went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and has scored in double figures in six consecutive games despite coming off the bench. “We all have trust and believe in each other.”
Want proof? Six different ISU players have led the team in scoring in conference play and everyone who played on Saturday notched at least one basket.
King went 4 of 7 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line to help the Cyclones win for the fifth time in its past six games. He’s also drilled eight 3-pointers in Big 12 play after hitting just one during the nonconference slate and as his range expands, so does his consistent production.
“It means the world to me, just knowing they have that confidence in me,” said King, who’s drained at least one long-range basket in three of the past four games. “They see me put in the work on and off the court, so they’re gonna trust me to knock those shots down when we need them.”
That trust extends to everyone on the team, as Jones and Otzelberger noted, and it’s a major reason the Cyclones entered Saturday as one of three Big 12 teams (Houston, Baylor) with just three conference losses — and remain that way until at least Tuesday when they travel to Cincinnati.
“We’re fortunate our guys care about each other,” Otzelberger said. “They look for each other. There’s nobody out there trying to do their own thing. Everybody’s trying to make the right play for each other and that gives us great balance and makes us tough to prepare for.”