Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Still searching for their first Big 12 Conference win of the season, the TCU Horned Frogs give it another shot this afternoon as they play host to the 17th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones at Daniel- Meyer Coliseum.
Iowa State ran roughshod though the non-conference portion of its schedule, but the start of Big 12 play brought the team back to Earth, as it went 3-4 in its first seven league bouts. Since then however, the Cyclones have won five of six to improve to 20-5 overall and 8-5 in conference. They are currently three games off the pace set by first-place Kansas (11-2), with five games remaining in the regular season, including this bout.
TCU was a solid 9-3 prior to the start of Big 12 action, but the squad had taken it on the chin in 13 straight games, the most recent of which being a 65-53 setback at Kansas State on Wednesday night. The Horned Frogs come into the weekend hoping to inch closer to .500 at home for the season, as they currently sit at 5-7, having lost their last six in Fort Worth.
TCU owns a 5-4 edge in the all-time series with Iowa State, but it was the Cyclones who prevailed in the first meeting this season, 84-69, in Ames on Feb. 8., and who have won all three encounters between the two since the Frogs joined the Big 12.
Iowa State put forth solid efforts at both ends of the court at home against Texas this past Tuesday, shooting 49.2 percent from the field while allowing the Longhorns just 32.9 percent success, in what turned out to be an 85-76 win for the Cyclones. Melvin Ejim scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang helped out by netting 22 and 20 points, respectively, and combining for 10 of the team's 21 assists. ISU won the game despite being outrebounded (44-35) and outscored at the foul line (23-17). The Cyclones were guilty of only six turnovers, while scoring 40 points in the paint compared to only 18 for the 'Horns.
With an average of 19.1 ppg, Ejim is the Big 12's leading scorer, and he also paces the Cyclones on the glass with his 8.6 rpg, just a fraction better than Dustin Hogue's 8.5 rpg. Niang and Kane contribute 16.4 and 16.2 ppg, respectively, with the latter also serving as one of the top playmakers in all of college basketball (151 assists). As a collective unit, Iowa State is putting up 84.1 ppg (fifth-best in the country), while permitting 73.8 ppg.
Kyan Anderson poured in a game-high 23 points, but the effort went to waste as TCU dropped a 12-point decision at Kansas State earlier in the week. It was the fourth straight game in which Anderson exceeded the 20-point barrier, raising his team-leading scoring average to 16.9 ppg. Karviar Shepherd added 12 points for the Horned Frogs, who shot just 36.2 percent from the field, missing the mark on all but two of their 13 3-point tries along the way.
Beyond Anderson and Amric Fields (13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg), there aren't a whole lot of scoring options on which the Frogs can rely. Three others net between 8.4 and 9.0 ppg, but the team as a whole is averaging just 64.4 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of only .409 overall and .326 from beyond the arc. At the defensive end, TCU is permitting 71.2 ppg, with foes connecting on 43.9 percent of their total shots, which includes a 34.2 percent showing from long distance. The Horned Frogs routinely come up short on the glass (-8.6 rebounding margin), but they are in the black in turnovers (+1.1.).