The Oklahoma State basketball team tries to get their first Big 12 win tonight against the Iowa State Cyclones in Stillwater.
The Oklahoma State basketball team 10-5 (0-3 Big 12) takes on the Iowa State Cyclones 10-4 (2-1 Big 12) tonight at 8 p.m. CST in Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. This is a huge game for both teams, especially the Cowboys. They need a victory to get on track in conference play.
After three straight losses to start Big 12 play the Pokes are on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. OK State lost to the West Virginia Mountaineers in Stillwater 92-75 in their first conference game. They followed that up by road losses to the Texas Longhorns 82-79 and the no. 1 Baylor Bears 61-57.
This is the first Big 12 game the Pokes are favored in so far this season. They are three-point favorites with an over/under of 158 points. However, the Cyclones have won seven in a row against OK State, so the odds are against them of late.
A big matchup to watch is the Cyclons senior point guard Monte Morris against the Pokes sophomore point guard Jawun Evans. Morris averages 14.9 points per game, 5.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.0 steals this season. Meanwhile, Evans averages 18.9 points per game, 5.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.1 steals.
ISU won their last game against UT, in Ames, 79-70. Their other conference win came against the Texas Tech Red Raiders 63-56. Furthermore, their only conference loss came against Baylor 65-63.
Other players to watch for the Cyclones include their leading scorer Nazareth Mitrou-Long who averages 15.4 points per game. Senior guard Deonte Burton is a key piece to the Cyclone attack tonight since he’s their leading rebounder. Burton averages 13.0 points per game and 7.1 rebounds.
OK State needs a big performance from senior shooting guard Phil Forte and senior forward Leyton Hammonds tonight. Forte had a big game in the Cowboys’ loss to Baylor with 17 points. Hammonds averages 7.9 points per game and 5.4 rebounds in only 19.7 minutes per game this season. Since the Cyclones run with a smaller lineup, Hammonds could get some extra time of the floor.
The biggest key to victory for the Cyclones is rebounding. In their 79-70 victory against the Horns, they were still outrebounded 33-26. OK State has height in the paint between Lucas N’Guessan and Mitchell Solomon. If the Cyclones aren’t hitting the glass hard tonight then it could be a long night on the defensive end of the floor.
However, the biggest key to victory for the Cowboys is limiting turnovers. Evans turned the ball over three times in their last loss to BU. Before that, he turned the ball over 10 times combined in OK State’s first two conference games.