A team on the rise and a team simply trying to salvage something from an abysmal season collide Thursday night when Iowa State visits 18th-ranked Texas Tech.
The teams come into the middle game of a three-game makeup stretch from different directions after Tuesday night.
The Red Raiders (16-8,8-7 Big 12) won their second game in a row after clamping down on defense to cruise past TCU 69-49 on Tuesday. That same night, Iowa State's nightmarish season continued with an 81-67 home loss to 15th-ranked Texas, dropping the Cyclones to 2-19 (0-16 Big 12).
Now, with the Big 12 Tournament a week away, both teams are looking for different kinds of footholds.
"I think we understand the last two games our backs were against the wall a little bit," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said after his team smothered the Horned Frogs, limiting them to 38.8 percent shooting overall and 4-for-17 from 3-point territory. "I thought the guys played their best basketball when we needed them to play their best basketball."
That performance was needed on a night when the Red Raider offense misfired at times but got rescued by a big night from Kyler Edwards.
With leading scorer Mac McClung handcuffed by early foul trouble and uncharacteristic ineffectiveness, he contributed a season-low four points and hoisted only four field-goal attempts. Edwards picked up the slack with 17 of his 20 points in the first half and finished the night 7-of-8 shooting, bolstered by 4-of-5 accuracy from outside the 3-point arc.
"I think I've been shooting the ball well the last five games," Edwards said. Over that span, he is 15-for-28 from the field overall and 7-for-13 from 3-point range. "Me just knowing that, and having confidence in myself, and my teammates giving me confidence, that's just giving it to me right there."
Texas Tech's confidence was a shared experience vs. TCU: 22 of 29 made field goals came on assists, with McClung (six), Edwards (four) and Marcus Santos-Silva (four) accounting for 14.
Iowa State delivered a similar ratio (18 of 26) in its latest loss to Texas, but 14 turnovers plagued the Cyclones in a first half when they fell behind the Longhorns 38-28.
Iowa State got a big night from Jalen Coleman-Lands, who logged 22 points. Javan Johnson was also solid with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. The second half was cleaner, with only three more giveaways, but the first-half damage was too much.
--Field Level Media