Iowa State (8-3) at UMKC (4-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 19, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Municipal Auditorium (7,316) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: Local. Home Record: ISU 7-0, UMKC 1-2. Away Record: ISU 0-2, UMKC 1-3. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, UMKC 2-1. Conference Record: ISU 0-0, UMKC 1-1. Series Record: Iowa State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Iowa State Cyclones play their final game of the 2012 calendar year on Wednesday night when they travel to Municipal Auditorium for a non- conference clash with the UMKC Kangaroos.
Iowa State has played well to this point in the season, winning eight of its first 11 contests, with two of its losses coming to nationally-ranked foes in Cincinnati (78-70) and UNLV (82-70). Since those back-to-back setbacks, the Cyclones have won four of five, most recently taking down Drake last Saturday, 86-77.
UMKC is losers of consecutive games, having dropped a matchup at nationally- ranked Louisville on Dec. 8 (99-47) and falling at home against Appalachian State this past Sunday (81-71). In an up-and-down season for the Roos, it was the first time they have won or lost back-to-back games.
In the only previous matchup between these two teams, Iowa State came away with a 121-82 win on Dec. 5, 1979.
The Cyclones have found a lot of success behind a solid offensive effort this season, as they shoot 45.5 percent from the field in averaging 82.7 ppg, which is the seventh-best figure in the country. In their latest outing against Drake, they shot a modest 44.1 percent, but they made a huge impact at the foul line (30-of-41) and won the rebounding battle by a 45-30 margin. Melvin Ejim finished with a line consisting of 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block, while Will Clyburn also logged a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Georges Niang and Chris Babb tacked on 13 points apiece. ISU is no stranger to having a balanced offensive effort, as seven players average at least 8.7 ppg. Clyburn puts up 14.3 ppg and drains 83.3 percent of his free throws. Tyrus McGee has been lights-out from 3-point range (29-of-64) en route to his 12.7 ppg, while Ejim averages 11.0 ppg and 9.3 apg. Niang chips in 10.7 ppg and 5.2 rpg, and Korie Lucious scores 9.5 ppg while also handing out 5.2 apg.
The Kangaroos shot an impressive 51 percent from the floor in their latest game, and they missed just one of their 17 free throws (.941), but it could not keep Appalachian State off the scoreboard, as the Mountaineers shot a lofty 61.9 percent in the second half. Providing a huge spark off the bench for UMKC was Nelson Kirksey, who was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field for 18 points, while Estan Tyler and Thomas Staton put up 15 and 12 points, respectively. The Roos have had difficulty scoring points this season, as they connect on only 42.1 percent of their field goal attempts for less than 64 ppg. No player averages double digits, with Tyler leading the way with 9.7 ppg. Tyler is also the team's leading assist man with 3.2 per contest, and he has been impressive from the foul line as well (.913). Staton chips in 9.1 ppg. UMKC has difficulty holding on to the ball, as it has a turnover margin of minus-3.2.
UMKC has shown resiliency after most of its losses this year, and it will have a fighting chance playing in front of the hometown faithful, but Iowa State's explosive scoring attack will ultimately be too much for the Roos to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 84, UMKC 72
12/19 10:40:25 ET