AMES, Iowa (AP) — The best offensive team in the Big 12 got defensive and put together its most lopsided conference victory of the season.
Jameel McKay scored 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting in his first start and keyed a sterling effort on the defensive end that carried No. 11 Iowa State to a 75-38 rout of Texas Tech on Saturday.
It was a sharp turnaround for the Cyclones (17-5, 7-3 Big 12) from their surprising 78-73 loss at Tech two weeks earlier, a game in which they fell behind 29-10. Iowa State, which leads the Big 12 in scoring, bolted ahead 29-8 in this one and was never challenged in winning for the 20th straight time at home.
Naz Long added 15 points for Iowa State, which shot 56 percent and gave up the fewest points in a conference game since a 54-38 win over Oklahoma State on Jan. 9, 1967.
“Having lost a big one down there, we took this personal,” Long said. “We were taking a lot of hits defensively, so we took that upon ourselves to keep our guys in front us, run guys off the 3-point line and I feel like we did a good job of that.”
They certainly did.
Texas Tech (12-12, 2-9) had burned Iowa State in Lubbock, going 11-for-24 from 3-point range, including six from behind the arc in the Red Raiders’ early burst. They faced a much more determined defense on Saturday, missing their first eight shots from 3-point range and finishing 4-for-20 from behind the arc.
“They weren’t as comfortable,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They were so comfortable down there, especially early in that game. They were getting uncontested shots. That has been a big emphasis in practice the last couple of days.”
Toddrick Gotcher led Tech with 11 points, all but two in the first half.
It was thought that Hoiberg started the 6-foot-9 McKay in hopes of finding some early energy. That happened, but Hoiberg said the player McKay replaced, Bryce Dejean-Jones, was late for pregame activities and benched at the start.
McKay, wearing fluorescent green sneakers, controlled the lane, his teammates aggressively guarded the perimeter and the Cyclones kept the Red Raiders from reaching double figures until less than 3 minutes remained in the opening half.
“As far as starting, you always want to be ready when called on,” McKay said. “I approached the game like I approached it if I came off the bench. With help from my teammates, they looked for me and made it comfortable for me.”
In one sequence, McKay blocked a shot near the basket, then beat everyone down the floor for a layup, two of the Cyclones’ 13 fastbreak points in the first half. He also dunked on a lob from Georges Niang and scored on an aggressive drive.
And when a fan yelled, “Jameel, we love your shoes,” he flashed a big thumbs up. He finished with eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
With his team struggling to find any kind of offensive rhythm, Gotcher finally shook free to hit three straight 3s late in the first half to keep the margin under 20 — for a little while, anyway.
Iowa State led 35-17 at halftime before blowing it open with a 16-4 run. McKay converted a three-point play off a layup and dunked on a fastbreak and Dejean-Jones followed with a 3 for a 56-27 lead.
A 3-pointer by Matt Thomas and McKay’s third dunk of the afternoon started a 16-0 run that stretched the lead to 72-29.
It all left Tech coach Tubby Smith a little shocked and puzzled.
“We had a good shootaround this morning. We worked hard yesterday,” he said. “We’ve been working on shooting a lot, in-between shots, 3-point shots. It’s all concentration and confidence. When you lack, it can be a long day.”
Texas Tech: Davaughntah Williams struggled after a couple of big outings. He scored 22 in the first game with Iowa State and 22 in a victory over Kansas State, but had just four on Saturday on 2-for-9 shooting…The youthful Red Raiders have used eight different starting lineups, one of which had four freshmen and a sophomore. Saturday’s unit included two freshmen and a sophomore.
Iowa State: McKay now has 29 blocks for the season. Before he became eligible on Dec. 20, Iowa State had 26 blocks as a team…After turning the ball over four times in their first six possessions, the Cyclones gave it away only two more times the rest of the opening half and had 10 for the game vs. 18 assists.
The 37-point margin was Iowa State’s third largest against a conference opponent. The Cyclones’ biggest rout in a league game was a 108-68 romp past Colorado on Feb. 18, 1995. They beat Nebraska 114-76 on Jan. 20, 1988.
SUCCESS IS FLEETING
Texas Tech seems to have a hard time handling success. After beating Iowa State for its first Big 12 win, Tech lost to Oklahoma 81-36 the next time out. Saturday’s thumping followed a 64-47 victory over Kansas State.
Texas Tech: Hosts No. 8 Kansas on Tuesday.
Iowa State: At No. 21 Oklahoma on Monday.
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