Jan 7, 2023; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Gabe Kalscheur (22) hits the game-winning shot with TCU Horned Frogs guard Micah Peavy (0) defending during the second half at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa State was on the verge of completing an epic collapse when it was inbounding next to its own bench with five seconds left on the clock on Saturday in Fort Worth.
The Cyclones had led by nine points just minutes earlier, but a pair of controversial fouls on 3-point attempts by TCU’s Mike Miles and an 11-1 run by the home team had given the Horned Frogs a 67-66 advantage going into the game. final moments.
Earlier on this possession, Iowa State had attempted two shots in the paint, one by Jaren Holmesanother off the ensuing offensive rebound and scramble before TCU knocked the ball out of bounds with five ticks left.
Caleb Grill‘s inbound pass found the hands of Tamin Lipseywho took one dribble to his left while coming off a phantom screen by Holmes, then fired a cross-court pass to the Cyclone senior guard. Gabe Kalscheur.
Kalscheur took one dribble with his left hand before stepping back towards the left sidelines and unleashing a long, contested 3-pointer from the wing with less than three seconds left.
It found the bottom of the net.
Moments later, Iowa State celebrated a 69-67 win, its second road win of the week and its first 3-0 start to Big 12 play since the 1999-2000 team that won the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles.
This game, which Iowa State led for 36:08, was unlike almost any other the team has played to this point. The largest lead by either team was nine points, the score was tied three times and the lead changed hands only four times.
The fact that the game was close is not uncommon for this team, but the nature in which Iowa State efficiently played offense was. Five Cyclones scored in double figures, led by Kalscheur’s 15 points, and the team shot just 4-of-16 from 3-point range.
Iowa State won each of its first two Big 12 games on the back of standout individual performances and timely hot shooting from deep. They won this game by owning the area inside the 3-point arc as a team.
The Cyclones shot nearly 63 percent from 2-point range and outscored TCU 44-20 inside the painted area. Iowa State also benefitted from 14 second-chance points scored off of 12 offensive rebounds against one of the nation’s best rebounding teams.
Senior center Robert Jones was one of the primary beneficiaries of that success in the paint as he tallied 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting, four rebounds and two assists. After recording two points against Baylor and one point against Oklahoma, transfer forward Tre King came off the bench to provide 10 points on 5-of-10 from the field, four rebounds and a thunderous first-half slam off a no-look assist from Jones.
Lipsey continued his steady play on the perimeter with 10 points on 5-of-8 from the field with four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Holmes was the final Cyclone in double figures with 10 points, including a pair of deep 3-pointers, and four assists.
TCU’s Miles finished as the game’s high scorer, but he was forced to work hard for his buckets, finishing with 18 points on 5-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Damion Baugh was the only other Horned Frog in double digits with 17 points on 5-of-12 from the field with seven rebounds and five assists.
Despite the Horned Frogs’ desire to play at one of the league’s fastest paces, Iowa State held TCU to only 19 fastbreak points. The Frogs also turned it over 18 times which turned into 25 points for Iowa State.
Iowa State also won the battle on the glass, 32-27, while out-producing one of the nation’s best offensive-rebounding teams in that area of the game by a 12-8 advantage.
This was really the model type of game for this Iowa State team. A handful of players combining for a good night as a collective is considerably more sustainable than the live-or-die-by-one guy getting hot offense Iowa State has had to survive on most of the last two years.
The Cyclones have now strung four games together where they’ve performed at a top-50 or higher level offensively. Each of their last two games featured adjusted offensive ratings above 114, according to BartTorvik, which would rank inside the top 20 nationally. I’d expect this game will get a similar number once the site is updated.
Now, that’s not to say Iowa State is suddenly a top-25 offensive team, but this team is proving to be more than capable of considerably surpassing the offensive efficiency of last year’s team that went to the Sweet 16 despite its defects.
This team does not defend at quite the same level as last year’s team, but it is so much better offensively that the defensive dip is negated. In fact, Iowa State’s adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom is now back in the top 100 for the first time since sometime early in the 2020-21 season after Saturday’s win.
This game was unlike any other big game Iowa State has won over the last two seasons, but it produced a formula that could allow this team to sustain success on the offensive end.
The crazy part is I’m not sure we’ve seen the best version of this Iowa State team yet. Still, they’ve already beaten one of the league’s annual favorites and stole a pair of games on the road against very capable teams.
All of a sudden, this team looks like one capable of anything.
And to think… they were just on the verge of an epic collapse.