Iowa State jumped out to a 21-2 lead and withstood several comeback attempts by Kansas State in the second half to post a 73-63 on Saturday night before 14,149 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones (10-13, 3-7 Big 12), who led for nearly 39 minutes in the contest, have now won 3 in a row over the Wildcats (9-14, 2-8 Big 12) and snapped a 2-game losing streak at home in the series.
Down by as many as 21 points in the first half, K-State rallied to within 4 points on two occasions down the stretch, including 52-48 after layup by junior David Sloan that forced an Iowa State timeout with 7:54 to play. However, the Cyclones, playing in front of a near sellout crowd, responded by scoring 7 of the next 10 points, including back-to-back buckets by senior Prentiss Nixon out of the timeout, to push the lead to 59-51 with just under 4 minutes remaining and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Junior Cartier Diarra, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in 4 games, provided a spark for the Wildcats with a game-high 24 points – just one shy of his career-high – on 7-of-15 field goals, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range, to go with 3 assists and a career-best 3 blocks in 37 minutes. It marked Diarra’s fifth 20-point game of his career, which have all come this season.
Diarra was joined in double figures by freshman DaJuan Gordon, who collected his fifth double-digit scoring game of the season and his second in Big 12 play with 10 points. Senior Xavier Sneed, who struggled with a hip injury for most of the game, saw his streak of double-digit scoring game end at 7 after posting just 8 points, but he did lead the Wildcats with 7 rebounds and 3 steals in his 32 minutes of action.
K-State connected 37.9 percent (22-of-58) from the field, including 29 percent (9-of-31) from 3-point range.
The Iowa State offense was balanced with 5 players scoring at least 9 points, as junior Solomon Young led the way with 20 points on 7-of-9 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws. Sophomores Rasir Bolton and Terrence Lewis scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, while sophomore Tyrese Haliburton and senior Prentiss Nixon added 9 points each. The Cyclones connected on 45.3 percent (22-of-58) from the field, including 54.5 percent (12-of-22) in the second half, and were a near perfect 19 of 20 from the free throw line.
The teams capitalized on turnovers, as they combined for 44 points off 33 turnovers on the night. The Wildcats scored 23 points off 17 Cyclone turnovers, which marked the 10th time this season with 20 or more points off turnovers.