Sullivan, ISU Prepare to Face K-State

<b>Dallas, TX --</b> Iowa State will be hoping for a repeat of its second meeting with Kansas State this season, and definitely not the first when it suffered the biggest loss in two years, 90-59, in Manhattan. The two squads will meet a third time Thursday afternoon in the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas, exactly one month after the Cyclones took a 75-69 decision at Hilton Coliseum.

Wayne Morgan's team won that game in typical fashion, using a strong finish in front of a home crowd and overcoming a four-point halftime deficit. ISU, which shot a sizzling 58 percent from the field, got 19 points in the final 20 minutes from Jake Sullivan.

After not shooting well away from Hilton Coliseum this season, Sullivan knows how much of a key he'll be in tomorrow's matchup at American Airlines Center.

"We know it'll be difficult down here, but we can to win, we have a great team and know we can play here," said Sullivan during Wednesday's pre-game press conference.

The Cyclones return to Dallas as an eight seed this season, and will be hoping to advance to quarterfinal round action against Oklahoma State on Friday afternoon. ISU drew top-seeded Kansas one season ago in Dallas after knocking out Texas A&M in its opening game.

"I've never played past the second round of this tournament before, so I'm hoping that we get that chance," Sullivan added. "It would be ironic, though, if we are able to beat Kansas State, that we would have a chance to knock off a number one seed, when we were knocked off as a number one seed when I was a freshman."

A lot has happened to the Cyclone program since Sullivan's first trip to Kansas City with the then-conference champions. After suffering through a losing season as a sophomore, he returned to postseason play in the 2002-03 season when ISU made the NIT. With another trip beyond the Big 12s all but locked up, the Cyclones (16-11, 7-9) will be looking for more in Dallas.

Morgan wouldn't elaborate on the expectations he has on his team this week, but hopes he'll be fielding a squad that can go deep into the tournament.

"I never have any specific expectations in terms of we're going to win this many games," he said. "I thought we had an opportunity to have a good team and try to maximize our potential as a team, and every day try to get a little bit better than the day before. We kind of think that if we can reach our potential, then we can have some competitive games."

Tempo could play a big part in tomorrow's contest. ISU did not manage the flow during much of last month's meeting at Hilton, but was able to pull ahead late and hold off K-State's fouling strategy in the final five minutes. Prior to that matchup, the Cyclones found themselves out of it early in Manhattan and ended up surrendering 90 points to the Wildcats.

"Our game tomorrow will be a tough game; Kansas State gave us our worst defeat of the season," Morgan said. "We were able to come back and be competitive, and I think we'll be ready to give it our best effort. I think the team that can play the hardest, play together, concentrate together, execute, and then ultimately get some key defensive stops will win."

Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the American Airlines Center, and is the first game in this year's Big 12 Tournament. A win would secure the Cyclones a spot in the quarterfinals against Oklahoma State Friday at Noon.

CN would like to thank Off Campus Apparel & Novelties for making our coverage of the Big 12 Tournament possible. If you're looking for Cyclone merchandise, chances are Off Campus Apparel & Novelties has it. You can visit Off Campus Apparel & Novelties year-round at 4090 Merle Hay Road in Des Moines.

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