ISU looking to build from Baylor momentum

AMES – The worst game of the season may have been the 56-51 loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, back on Jan. 23.

The Cyclones shot just 39 percent from the floor, were out-rebounded by nine and scored the fewest points they have all season long.

But Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg knows his Cyclones are a much better team now than the one that was on the floor at the United Spirit Arena back in January. At least he hopes so.

“We haven’t watched a lot of film on that game yet,” Hoiberg said. “We needed to learn from that one though. And we did. We moved past it and we’ve been a better team since that loss. Hopefully we come out with great effort (today).”

Today, the Cyclones will face the Red Raiders again. This time though, ISU (18-8, 8-5) will be on its home floor in front of a sellout crowd at Hilton Coliseum.

“That was our worst offensive performance of the season,” Hoiberg said of the previous game against Texas Tech. “We got past it and got better from it. But this is an important stretch for us right now. We have to forget about the Baylor win and keep moving forward.”

The Cyclones are riding a two-game win streak and recorded their first big road win of the year when they traveled to Waco, Texas, and beat Baylor on Wednesday.

The win over the Bears pushed Iowa State into a tie with Oklahoma for fourth in the Big 12 Conference standings and bumped Baylor into fifth.

It also likely locked up the Cyclones’ second straight NCAA Tournament berth. And a lot of the success has come from behind the 3-point line where the Cyclones have made 10 or more treys in seven of their last eight games. Iowa State also leads the nation in 3-pointers made with 9.6 and has made at least 10 triples 15 times this year.

“The guys have confidence now,” Hoiberg said. “If they have an open look, I tell them to take the shot. We just don’t want to take bad shots.”

While the Cyclones are a bit of a hot streak, the Red Raiders have struggled. Since beating Iowa State in Ames, Texas Tech (9-15, 2-11) has lost seven straight games and only one of those losses – at West Virginia – was by single digits. Before the win over the Cyclones, Texas Tech had lost four straight as well.

Meanwhile, Iowa State owns a 14-0 record at home this year and has won 21 straight games inside Hilton Coliseum, which ranks as the fifth best active streak in the nation.

It will be a quick turnaround for the Cyclones, who host No. 9 Kansas in Ames on Monday. That game is on ESPN at 8 p.m.

“All we are worried about now is Texas Tech,” Hoiberg said.

The Cyclones and Red Raiders will tip off at 12:45 p.m. today.