KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Iowa State applied the lessons it learned from a loss to Kansas State last weekend to its rematch in the Big 12 Tournament.

The Cyclones relentlessly pressured the ball Thursday night, forcing 20 turnovers. They built a big edge in second-chance points. And they drove hard to the basket, offsetting some cold shooting from the 3-point line by parading to the foul line 31 times.

The result was a 76-57 victory for the seventh-ranked Cyclones and a spot in the semifinal round.

“On Saturday,” Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger said, “they were the aggressive team. They took it to us. And I thought that really helped us today, because of the respect we have for them. Our guys knew in our preparation we had to be at our very best.

“We're fortunate the areas we focus on with paint points, second-chance points, points off turnovers - those are the things we hang our hats on,” Otzelberger added, "and our guys did a tremendous job of focusing on those areas.”

Robert Jones scored 18 points, Tre King added 16 and Keshon Gilbert had 12 along with six steals to help fourth-seeded Iowa State (25-7) advance to play No. 14 Baylor for a spot in the conference championship game.

“We didn’t play well but it was because of them,” Kansas State coach Jerome Tang said. “They came ready to play.”

Tylor Perry had 18 points, Arthur Kaluma scored 13 and Will McNair Jr. had 12 points for 10th-seeded Kansas State (19-14), which closed to within 40-39 with about 16 minutes to go, when the Wildcats' turnovers really began to pile up.

Now, the Wildcats are left wondering whether they did enough to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

“We didn’t duck anybody in what we did,” Tang said, proceeding to spend several minutes making their case. “We have elite Quad 1 wins. We have no bad losses. I thought last night (against Texas), when we won, we were in the NCAA Tournament.”

Kansas State appeared to be hanging on the NCAA bubble until late-season losses to Cincinnati and Kansas put Tang's team in true desperation mode. The Wildcats responded with a win over Iowa State on senior day, then beat seventh-seeded Texas - an almost certain tourney team - on Wednesday to earn the opportunity for another marquee win over the Cyclones.

But this is the Big 12 Tournament, where Iowa State always seems to show up.

The four-time champs methodically went about their business in the first half Thursday night, building a 34-27 halftime lead by beating Kansas State to loose balls and turning dominance in the paint into a bunch of second-chance baskets.

They won the kind of hustle plays Kansas State won when the teams met at Bramlage Coliseum last Saturday.

The Wildcats tried to make a second-half run, closing within 40-39 on McNair's layup with 16 minutes to go. But then a team ranked 338th out of 351 teams in Division I in turnovers proceeded to cough the ball up on five of its next seven trips down the floor, and the Cyclones capitalized behind Hason Ward and Milan Momcilovic to pull away again.

They outscored Kansas State 26-6 over the next 10 minutes to put the game away.

“We're a defensive-minded team first and foremost,” King said, “and we pride ourselves on getting stops. We saw the lead get cut down to one and in our mind, we really focused on getting those stops, and our team did a great job of responding.”


Kansas State: The Wildcats are left to hope three wins over top-10 teams is enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament when teams are selected Sunday.

Iowa State: The Cyclones lost to the Bears in February on a layup in the closing seconds, a game better remembered for the Bears' Scott Drew getting ejected for the first time in his career.


Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.