AMES, IA (AP) — Iowa State’s worst loss this season came at Texas Tech a month ago.
The Cyclones returned the favor on Saturday — and they looked more than ready to avenge their most crushing loss when Kansas visits on Monday.
Will Clyburn and Chris Babb each scored 17 points and Iowa State trounced Texas Tech 86-66 for its third straight win.
Melvin Ejim had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cyclones (19-8, 9-5 Big 12), who tuned up for the league-leading Jayhawks by outscoring the Red Raiders 50-37 in the second half.
Iowa State had 18 assists on 26 field goals, hit 23 free throws and outrebounded Tech 43-31.
“I thought our ball movement was excellent in the second half. We get 18 assists on 26 baskets, that’s a sign you played a very unselfish game,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
The Cyclones stretched their lead to double digits, 50-39, with 13:52 to go and led by at least 10 the rest of the way. Iowa State went ahead by as many as 28 points in cruising to its 22nd straight home win.
Josh Gray had a game-high 20 points for Texas Tech (9-16, 2-12), which has lost eight in a row.
“I just think that Iowa State played really well. I just believe that I’d love to have another crack at them at the Big 12 tournament,” Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said.
Texas Tech stunned the Cyclones 56-51 in Lubbock last month. The Red Raiders haven’t won since.
Texas Tech’s latest losing streak has been marked by a number of blowouts, including an 86-71 home loss to Oklahoma on Wednesday night. Six of the losses in the Red Raiders’ eight-game skid have been by at least 15 points.
Texas Tech got off to a nice start, though. The Cyclones committed six early turnovers, the last of which Jaye Crockett turned into a windmill jam and a 15-all tie.
Iowa State couldn’t get rid of the physical Red Raiders for much of the first half. But Babb buried 3s from each corner to wake up a restless sellout crowd and help the Cyclones take a 36-29 lead into halftime.
“In the first half, we kind of got lulled to sleep by their game like we did down there (in Lubbock). We were able to get out of it the last couple of minutes in the first half, and in the second half we came out with a lot of energy,” Babb said.
Tech pulled within 45-39 before a Clyburn dunk and a 3 from Georges Niang put the Cyclones back ahead by 11 with just under 14 minutes to go.
Crockett had 13 points for Texas Tech, which was outrebounded 43-31.
“I thought we played really well in the first half. A couple of 3s in transition to end the half, just tough for us to end the half that way,” Walker said. “You could point in whatever direction you want. The bottom line is I thought the guys competed.”
Iowa State can now turn its full attention to Kansas. The Cyclones have been eyeing their rematch with the Jayhawks for well over a month.
The Cyclones had Kansas beaten back on Jan. 9 in Lawrence, but Ben McLemore banked in a long 3 just before the buzzer to force overtime. Kansas went on to win 97-89, the first in a string of heartbreaking road losses for Iowa State.
This time, the Cyclones get the Jayhawks on their home floor — where they’re 15-0 this season.
The student section wasn’t even content to wait until Monday, chanting “We want Kansas” in the game’s waning moments.
“We know what Kansas is about. We’ve played them, and we’ve played them well,” Ejim said. “We played well at their place, and we can do even better here.”
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