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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: ISU 14-0, Baylor 11-3. Away Record: ISU 2-7, Baylor 3-5. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, Baylor 2-1. Conference Record: ISU 7-5, Baylor 7-5. Series Record: ISU leads, 14-9.
GAME NOTES: The Baylor Bears will try to serve up some revenge when they host the Iowa State Cyclones in a Big 12 Conference clash at the Ferrell Center.
Iowa State notched a 79-71 home win over the Bears earlier this month. The Cyclones lead the all-time series, 14-9, although it is worth noting that the home team has won each of the last nine meetings.
That is a promising sign for a Baylor team that has gone 14-3 at home this season. However, the Bears will need to pick up the pieces from Saturday's 81-61 road loss at 13th-ranked Kansas State, which dropped their record as the visiting team to 2-7. They could certainly use a win here before getting back on the road for three of their next four contests.
Iowa State has one of the more dramatic home-road splits in the nation, as the team is a perfect 14-0 in Ames but is just 2-7 in unfriendly confines. The Cyclones returned from a 0-2 road swing and trounced TCU over the weekend, 87-53. Following tonight's tilt, they'll head back to campus to host Texas Tech on Saturday, followed by No. 9 Kansas on Monday.
The Cyclones never trailed in Saturday's contest, as they extended their homecourt winning streak to 21 in a row dating back to last season. They held TCU to 8-of-27 shooting from the floor in the opening frame to build a comfortable 15-point halftime lead and then expanded the margin in the second stanza. Georges Niang had a career-high 19 points and knocked down three of the team's 14 3-pointers on the afternoon. Will Clyburn chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Chris Babb finished with 11 points. Clyburn is the team's floor leader, as he is averaging a team-best 15.1 points to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game. He has also gotten plenty of help from his supporting cast. Second-leading scorer Tyrus McGee (12.8 ppg) has come off the bench in all but two games this season, and he is averaging just under three 3-pointers per contest (.445). Niang (11.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Melvin Ejim (10.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg) round out the team's double-digit scorers.
Senior point guard Pierre Jackson orchestrates Baylor's offense, as he is scoring a team-high 18.4 points to go along with a conference-leading 6.3 assists per game. Jackson is also good for 2.5 threes per contest (59-of-167), as he and fellow guard Brady Heslip (58-of-142) can make opponents pay for leaving them space along the perimeter. Down low, Isaiah Austin (13.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Cory Jefferson (12.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) form one of the Big 12's top front lines. But against Kansas State, the Bears were outrebounded on the offensive glass, 16-8. In addition, Baylor committed 19 turnovers and forced only six, as the Wildcats held a decisive 22-6 edge in points off turnovers for the game. Defensively, the Bears allowed K-State to drain 11-of-25 threes. A.J. Walton had a team-high 14 points in the loss, while Austin and Heslip finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
On paper, these teams are fairly evenly matched, although Baylor holds a slight size advantage. The Bears are also playing at home, which spells trouble for an Iowa State squad that has struggled all season long outside of its own building.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 69, Iowa State 63
02/20 11:04:04 ET
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