Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) passes to a teammate while covered by Kansas State forward Jordan Henriquez (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Saturday, February 09, 2013 9:31 pm
Turnovers doom Iowa St. against No. 13 K-State
By ASHLEY DUNKAKAssociated Press
The Cyclones drained 12 shots from long range but gave the ball away 20 times, and the Wildcats scored 27 points off turnovers - including 16 in the second half - in a 79-70 victory on Saturday night.
"We've got too many weapons on the offensive end to turn the ball over as many times as we did," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Early on in the season, it was our weakness, our biggest weakness.
"We've been very good since conference play started, but we reverted back to trying to hit home runs today instead of making the safe, easy pass."
Korie Lucious led the Cyclones (16-7, 6-4 Big 12) with 16 points and reserve Tyrus McGee had 15.
Rodney McGruder scored 22 points and Angel Rodriguez added 20 as the Wildcats moved into sole possession of first place in the conference.
Kansas State (19-4, 8-2) held a slim 33-32 lead at the break in a game that remained close most of the way.
After Ejim reversed the Wildcats' halftime lead, McGruder scored on a slashing layup and drew a foul against Lucious. With three fouls, Lucious - who led Iowa State with 10 points in the first half - went to the bench and did not score again until only 1:33 remained in the game.
"That killed us," Chris Babb said. "When he has to go out, it kind of throws off our whole offense, him and Bubu (Palo), both our point guards. It's hard to win like that."
A bucket by Thomas Gipson gave Kansas State a 38-34 lead before Georges Niang and Will Clyburn - who was averaging 15.2 points but scored only six against the Wildcats - each hit a bucket to give Iowa State a 39-38 lead.
An 8-0 spurt that included a 3-pointer by Shane Southwell, free throws by Gipson and a another 3 by Will Spradling put Kansas State in front 46-39.
The breathing room did not last long.
The gap narrowed again when McGee hit a pair of baskets to bring the Cyclones within 46-44, and after Rodriguez and Gipson scored for the Wildcats, McGee hit a pair of 3s.
"He's instant offense," Ejim said, "That was what we needed. We just couldn't get enough of it throughout the game."
With the game tied at 50, Martavious Irving responded with his first 3 of the game, kicking off a 15-5 run for the Wildcats. McGruder slashed to the rim, Irving hit another 3 and then McGruder nailed a 3 of his own.
With 9:10 remaining, Kansas State led 61-52. In response to a pair of Iowa State baskets, Gipson and Rodriguez both scored and put the Wildcats up 65-55 - the first double-digit lead of the game.
From there, Kansas State began to pull away.
A 3 by Rodriguez and a three-point play by Gipson put the Wildcats up 71-57 with 4:53 to play. Consecutive 3s by Lucious pulled the Cyclones within seven with under a minute to play, but Iowa State could not stop Kansas State from scoring.
"We just got a little sped up when they kind of pressured us, and we turned the ball over," Babb said. "You can't beat the No. 13 team in the country like that."
The final score reflected how the game began, as the Wildcats leapt out to an early 11-2 lead. After a Kansas State turnover, Babb sank an open 3, bringing Iowa State within 11-5.
A three-point play by Ejim a few possessions later cut the deficit to 16-10. After Gipson made one of two free throws, Iowa State kicked into high gear. Living up to their identity as a 3-point shooting team, the Cyclones went on a 16-2 tear that began with a 3 by Lucious. After he knocked down a pair of free throws, three more 3s gave the Cyclones a 26-19 lead with 7:02 to go before halftime.
The Wildcats responded with a 9-0 run of their own. McGruder and Southwell each hit a 3-pointer to bring Kansas State within 28-25. A slashing layup in transition by Rodriguez made it a one-point game. A pair of free throws by Irving gave the Wildcats the lead once again, 29-28.
Kansas State went up by four after a tip-in by Southwell, but Iowa State scored back-to-back baskets, and the Cyclones led 32-31. A layup rolled in for Irving and gave the Wildcats a one-point lead at halftime.
The defeat was the third straight road loss for Iowa State, which in the last week of January lost 78-76 at Oklahoma State and 56-51 Texas Tech.