Coming off its first loss of the season, No. 21 Iowa State looks to get back on the winning track when it returns home to face Cincinnati in a non-conference matchup on Thursday. The Cyclones rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half to nearly pull off an upset over Gonzaga on Sunday, while the Bearcats come into the contest having won three straight.
Iowa State is one of the most prolific scoring teams in the country with an average of 88.8 points, but it doesn’t slack off at the defensive end, holding the opposition to 64.8. Four of coach Steve Prohm’s all-senior starters have a double-digit scoring average, with Monte Morris recording 16 points per game and Nazareth Mitrou-Long contributing 15.2. Cincinnati relies on a pair of high scorers for much of its offense, as Jacob Evans leads the way with 17.8 points, while Kyle Washington is averaging 16.8, 9.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The Bearcats know they need to concentrate on hitting the glass to limit Iowa State to a single shot as much as possible, although Gary Clark - one of the team’s best rebounders - is day-to-day after suffering an ankle injury in Cincinnati’s last contest.
TV: 9 p.m. ET. ESPN
ABOUT CINCINNATI (5-1): The Bearcats continue to push to get more out of Clark, who was a Preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection. But the junior has taken a step back from last season’s averages of 10.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, recording 7.3 and 5.7 thus far in 2016-17. An ankle injury that limited him to just six minutes against Lipscomb didn’t help, but even before the injury, Clark had scored in double figures only twice this season after hitting that mark 19 times as a sophomore.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (5-1): It’s hard to be happy after a bitter two-point defeat that saw his team rally from a deficit to just miss winning the game, but Prohm couldn’t have been happier about what he saw from Deonte Burton during the comeback. The senior guard emerged for the Cyclones, scoring 21 of his career-high 29 points in the second half as the team was rallying. Burton also hit the boards more than usual, finishing with 12 rebounds and giving Prohm some ammunition when it comes to pushing him to do more on the glass.
1. Cincinnati G Troy Caupain needs three points to become the 50th player in school history to reach 1,000.
2. Iowa State averages just 11 turnovers, tops in the Big 12, while the Bearcats are forcing opponents into 16.7 miscues per contest.
3. Cyclones G Matt Thomas had his streak of 30 straight games with at least one 3-pointer end in the loss to Gonzaga.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 82, Cincinnati 78