Cyclone Defense Puts Wrap on 'Cats

It was probably not how the Cyclones drew it up, but they'll take it. Iowa State stormed to a 19-point halftime lead, then put it in cruise control for a 57-42 victory over a punch-less Kansas State team. It was the sixth consecutive triumph in Big 12 play for ISU, which improved to 14-8 overall.

"This was one of the best first halves we've played all year," said head coach Wayne Morgan. "We really moved the ball well, found each other, got good shots, and made good plays. Our defense in the first half was also very good. Kansas State was only able to shoot 38 percent. Our defense overall was the primary reason we won."

Defensively, the Cyclones achieved perhaps their main objective of the game in limiting Fred Peete to just two points in 37 minutes. The sharp-shooter was honored by the Big 12 after hitting 13 3-pointers in two games last week, but missed on all six of his attempts on Tuesday.

But Peete wasn't the only cold-shooting Wildcat. Teammates Cartier Martin and Clent Stewart shot a combined 2-of-10 from the floor.

"We knew we had to get to Peete and we knew we had to get to Martin, since he killed us up there," Morgan said. "Then we had to get in front of (Jeremiah) Massey. If you can get a couple of those things done, you've got a chance."

The solid defensive effort, along with some hot shooting on the offensive end enabled the Cyclones to grab a 38-19 edge heading into the locker room. Tasheed Carr scored 10 of his 13 points in the opening stanza to pace ISU, which came out of the gates with a flurry.

The Cyclones scored 13 of the game's first 17 points and went on to grab a 20-7 edge at the 10:17 mark.

"The first half was the best half we ever played," said ISU's Rahshon Clark. "We played how we practiced. We practice hard and it carried over to the game. We tried to keep the pressure on them. We didn't want to slack off and wanted to build the lead up as much as possible so they wouldn't have a chance to come back."

Although they weren't able to build on the lead that much in the second half, ISU's defense was good enough to hold K-State in check.

After Massey's field goal 29 seconds into the half, the Wildcats managed just one more bucket over the next 9:36. From that point on, K-State never threatened.

Tuesday night's effort certainly wasn't one that will dominate a season highlight reel, but it was a workman-like effort for a game sandwiched between two ranked teams on ISU's schedule.

"We have a business-like mentality and are winning now, but we still feel like our backs are against the wall," said Carr. "If we want to make our goal, which is the NCAAs, we've got to continue to win and play hard and play tough."

In turning the tables against K-State, the Cyclones avenged their most recent loss of the season, a 63-51 setback in Manhattan on Jan. 26.

With Carr and Clark sparking ISU's resurgence, this was a much different squad than the one that last faced the Wildcats.

"We played them a couple of weeks ago and weren't the same team as we are now," Carr said. "I think we play a different style of basketball. We're maturing a team and learning every day. If we continue to go out there with as much energy, we'll win a lot more games."

Stinson led the Cyclones with 16 points and nine rebounds. Carr posted another double-digit effort by sinking three 3-pointers in 23 minutes.

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