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College Basketball: #6 Cyclones fall short at #2 Houston, 73-65

HOUSTON, Texas – In a battle of the Big 12’s top teams, No. 6 Iowa State (20-6, 9-4 Big 12) came up short at No. 2 Houston (23-3, 10-3 Big 12), falling 73-65. Monday night’s meeting was the fourth top-six matchup in school history for ISU.

HOUSTON, Texas – In a battle of the Big 12’s top teams, No. 6 Iowa State (20-6, 9-4 Big 12) came up short at No. 2 Houston (23-3, 10-3 Big 12), falling 73-65. Monday night’s meeting was the fourth top-six matchup in school history for ISU.

The Cougars picked up their 20th-straight home victory, as the Fertitta Center has been a tough venue for visiting teams. In fact, Iowa State is the first team this season to even come within ten points of the Cougars by the time of the final whistle.

ISU failed to force more than 10 turnovers for just the second time in the T.J. Otzelberger Era, as the Cougar backcourt took care of the ball on the way to victory.

Monday night’s matchup featured more scoring than the first time the two teams met in January – a 57-53 win for the Cyclones – as both teams shot 42 percent from the floor despite two of the nation’s top three defenses being on display.

The free throw line was a major difference in the game, as Houston knocked down 14 more freebies (24-32) as it picked up an eight-point win. Iowa State outrebounded Houston – the third-best rebounding team in the conference – by nine, limiting UH to just eight offensive boards which was the fewest in any game this season and the first time it had been held under 10.

Keshon Gilbert again led the Cyclone attack, as the junior from St. Louis dropped 17 points on 6-10 shooting from the field with three triples. Tre King had a monster game for the Cyclones, as the senior knocked down three triples of his own, going a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown. King also had eight rebounds – the most of any player on the court. Curtis Jones was the third ISU player to finish in double figures, dropping 13.

Houston was led by their superstar guard Jamal Shead who poured in 26 points on the night – his second-most points in a single game. Emanuel Sharp was also solid for the Cougs, scoring 20 points.

With both teams being ranked as highly defensively as they were, the game got off to a predictably physical, defensive start. In the first five minutes of play, the score was 5-2 in favor of Houston. In fact, the Cougar defense held ISU to just four points in the first 10:16 of the game.

The Cyclones went down by as many as 13 in the first half, trailing No. 2 Houston 19-6 with a little over eight minutes left. A 14-7 run over the next six minutes closed the gap to 20-26 with a little under two minutes remaining. C. Jones buried a three with 33 seconds left to take the Cyclones into the half down just five, 23-28, after falling behind double digits.

Milan Momcilovic had a team-high seven points at the break, while Shead was held to just six in the first stanza. ISU held Houston to a measly 29.6 percent shooting from the floor heading into the break.

At the start of the second half, the Cyclones got a steal almost immediately, with King stealing the ball and leading to a Gilbert finish. But, as was the case for most of the night, Houston had an answer to every punch the Cyclones threw.

The Cougars pushed the led back to eight by the first media timeout and extended it to 11 with just over 13 minutes to play. However, back-to-back 3-pointers from Gilbert and C. Jones trimmed the lead back to five and forced Kelvin Sampson to use his third timeout with 11:45 left.

The game continued to go back-and-forth with each team exchanging blows. A back-breaking second chance layup for Houston was countered with King’s third long ball of the evening, making the game 55-50 in favor of Houston with 6:46 left.

Gradually the Cougars were able to firmly wrestle away full control, eventually reestablishing its lead up to 11 points with 2:54 left. Iowa State was unable to really chip away at the 11-point cushion, eventually falling by eight.

Top Performers

Tre King played a pivotal role in keeping the Cyclones in the game, burying his three triples in a timely matter, seemingly responding to each big basket by Houston with a silencer. It was the second time this season that King splashed three or more triples and the 11th time he finished in double figures.

Notes

– Tre King went over 700 career rebounds on the night – he now has 707. He’s one game away from playing in his 50th in an ISU jersey.  King passed the 1,000-minute threshold at ISU this evening.
– Tamin Lipsey moved into 13th all-time at ISU on the steals list.  He surpassed 250 career rebounds, corralling three.
– Curtis Jones scored his 800th point on the evening – he now has 803.
– Keshon Gilbert also scored his 800th point on the evening – he now has 808.
– Robert Jones hit career rebound number 550 on the night.
– Milan Momcilovic eclipsed 800 minutes played in his freshman campaign.

Up Next

The Cyclones will be back in action this Saturday, Feb. 24, when they return to Hilton Coliseum to host the West Virginia Mountaineers. Saturday’s game is scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

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