AMES – No. 23 Iowa State (7-1, 0-0 Big 12) knocked off St. John’s (8-1, 0-0 Big East) as one of the nation’s unbeaten teams in a 71-60 Big 12/Big East Battle victory Sunday night in Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State never trailed, running out to a 14-2 lead and maintaining a double-digit lead throughout. Toughness on the defensive end set the tone. The Cyclones held the Red Storm to 35.8 percent from the field, forced 20 turnovers and registered 13 steals. ISU has stymied opponents to 18-plus turnovers in seven of eight contests and registered 10 or more steals six times this season.
The Cyclones received a balance effort with all nine players in the scoring column led by Jaren Holmes’ 14 points. Aljaž Kunc tallied 12 points and grabbed eight boards, and Robert Jones netted 11 points from off the bench.
How It Happened
Iowa State spurted to a 14-2 lead at the second media timeout. Holmes had five quick points and the Cyclones shut down the Red Storm offense, forcing nine turnovers and holding them without a field goal in the first 10 minutes.
St. John’s made its first field goal at 9:53 of the first half, missing its first eight shots from the floor. Kunc then scored back-to-back baskets, including a corner trey, to give the Cyclones a 22-5 lead with 8:28 remaining in the first period.
St. John’s went on a 9-2 run with the Cyclone offense in a stall, cutting the lead to 24-14. The Red Storm pressure began to give ISU fits, as the Cyclones committed six turnovers in the final four minutes of the half but still led at the break, 33-22. Holmes had eight first-half points.
ISU stretched its lead to 17 points (47-30) with under 13 minutes remaining. Tamin Lipsey scored layups on ISU’s first two possessions and Osun Osunniyi had back-to-back dunks in the early part of the second half to keep the Red Storm at a distance.
Rafael Pinzon buried a trey for the Red Storm with 4:12 left in the game to cut the Cyclone advantage to 63-53, the closest margin since the first half.
Caleb Grill shot the ball just six times, but his hustle on the other end was a factor in the Cyclone win. Grill, who scored seven points, led the Cyclones in rebounding (10) and steals (5), setting career highs in both categories.
-Caleb Grill set a career high with 10 rebounds against the Red Storm.
Iowa State travels to Iowa to compete in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series on Thursday (Dec. 8). Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CT on FS1.