December 02, 2014

After looking nothing like a program expected to contend for the Big 12 title early in conference play, Iowa State showed it shouldn't be counted out after knocking off the nation's top-ranked team.

With another matchup with a national power looming, the 19th-ranked Cyclones look to avoid a letdown and move above .500 in the Big 12 for the first time when they visit last-place TCU on Saturday.

Iowa State (14-4, 3-3) opened the conference slate with an 87-83 loss at then-No. 3 Oklahoma on Jan 2, and dropped to 1-3 in the Big 12 with defeats to Baylor and Texas. The Cyclones got back in the win column last Saturday against Kansas State and in a rematch with the newly crowned No. 1 Sooners on Monday, they sent a message to the rest of the league with an 82-77 victory.

The game featured 12 lead changes and was tied six times until Monte Morris hit a jumper with 19 seconds left to put Iowa State ahead for good at 79-77.

''We've been through a lot of adversity the last week or so, with a couple of losses," coach Steve Prohm said. "But if you listened to what they were saying, they were all saying the right things. They stuck together, and it just shows their character.''

Georges Niang had 22 points and Morris added 20 as the Cyclones earned their first win over a No. 1 team since upsetting Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas Jayhawks in 1957.

Iowa State will welcome third-ranked Kansas - one of five teams it trails in the Big 12 - to Hilton Coliseum on Monday, but first shifts its focus to TCU (9-9, 1-5).

The Horned Frogs are 7-53 in league games since joining the Big 12 in 2012-13, going 2-28 against ranked conference opponents, and will have their hands full keeping up with the Cyclones.

While Iowa State is tied for eighth in the nation with 85.0 points per game and is sixth in shooting percentage at 50.1, TCU is last in the Big 12 in those categories at 69.5 and 42.1.

TCU leading scorer Vladimir Brodziansky's 11.8 average would be fifth among healthy Iowa State players behind Niang (19.7), Morris (15.0), Jameel McKay (13.5) and Abdel Nader (12.9).

"We are not where we want to be in terms of our won-loss record," TCU coach Trent Johnson said after Monday's 76-69 defeat to Texas Tech. "We need to continue to fight, gain confidence and stay together as a group. ... We've got three days to get ready for a very, very talented senior-laden basketball team at Iowa State."

Niang, a senior, is the driving force for the Cyclones and in the past few weeks, Morris and Nader have also stepped up their play. Morris is averaging 19.3 points and 62.5 percent shooting in the last four games while Nader is at 16.0 and 51.2 in that span.

Brodziansky broke out of his shooting slump with 18 points and a 5-of-9 effort from the floor against the Red Raiders after averaging 5.6 points and 30.8 percent in his previous five contests.

Iowa State had no trouble offensively in beating TCU twice last season, averaging 86.0 points and 56.5 percent shooting, including 14 of 25 from 3-point range. The Cyclones have won six straight in the series.

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