"Defensively, we where we need to be," ISU head coach Greg McDermott said. "Obviously, baskets are hard for us to come by right now. That was the case at Kansas and the case again tonight."
Iowa State took a quick 10-6 lead thanks to an 8-0 run after spotting KSU the first four points of the game. Diante Garrett and Craig Brackins each had four points to get ISU off to the early lead.
The game was extremely physical, as both teams failed to tally a field goal for a four-minute stretch. Brackins ended the drought with a bucket after the Cyclones broke the press to give ISU a 16-10 lead with 8:10 remaining in the opening period.
Brackins scored 10-straight points for ISU to increase its lead to 20-10. KSU finally ended a five-minute scoring lull with a Darren Kent tip-in with 6:12 left before intermission to make it 20-12.
Buchi Awaji drilled a 3-pointer in the corner to cut the Cyclone lead to 24-19 at the break. The Wildcats shot 26.7 percent from the field in the opening period, while ISU made only 34.5 percent of its shots. Brackins had 18 first-half points, the seventh time this season he has recorded 18 or more points in a half.
Both teams had cold starts to the second half. ISU made just 2-of-8 from the field and KSU was 2-of-9 from the floor through the first five minutes of the second period.
At the 11:20 minute mark of the second half, ISU was clinging to a 31-30 lead, as the Cyclones had just seven second-half points. KSU took its first lead since the opening minutes of the game on an Awaj jumper to make it 32-31.
ISU stayed in its offensive funk, as the Wildcats forged a 40-36 lead after a Fred Brown lay-in with 6:44 left in the game. The lead was still four points (44-40) with 3:48 left, as ISU was without a field goal since the 9:13 mark of the second half.
Denis Clemente's 3-pointer as the shot clock was running down gave the Wildcats a 49-43 lead with 1:19 left in the game. Lucca Staiger finally ended ISU's 8:22 drought without a field goal with a trey to cut the lead to 49-46 with 0:54 remaining in the game.
The Cyclones stopped KSU on the other end and Brackins hoisted a trey to tie with 0:09 seconds left, but it was off the mark.
Brackins finished the game with his 15th 20-point game with 24 points. He has led the Cyclones in scoring in 16 of the last 18 games.
ISU plays host to Baylor on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.