The K-State men’s basketball team returns to Big 12 Conference play Saturday as it travels to Ames, Iowa, to play the Iowa State Cyclones. K-State (18-8, 6-5 Big 12 Conference) tuned up for the trip with an easy 95-49 victory at home against the North Carolina Central Eagles on Tuesday.
During that non-conference game, the Wildcats shot a season high of 60.3 percent and were led offensively by sophomore forward Dominique Sutton’s 16 points on 5-6 shooting from the field.
Jamar Samuels, Ron Anderson, Buchi Awaji, Fred Brown and Luis Colon all scored in double digits for the Wildcats. With the win, K-State improved to to 12-0 in non-conference play.
“Tuesday night’s game allowed us to stay in rhythm,” said head coach Frank Martin. “I didn’t want us to get out of our routine. It’s that time of year when the ups and downs aren’t necessary.”
K-State’s last Big 12 game was on Valentine’s Day against KU. The Wildcats lost that game 85-74, which snapped their six-game winning streak.
“The only game that matters is the game that we have on Saturday,” Martin said. “We got to figure out a way to go into Iowa State and put all of our energy and focus into that game. Then we will worry about what comes at us down the road.”
Iowa State (13-13, 2-9 Big 12) comes into Saturday’s game after a 72-55 loss to KU in Allen Fieldhouse.
The Cyclones were led by sophomore forward Craig Brackins, who had a double-double against the Jayhawks with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He leads the Cyclones in both of those categories, averaging 19.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
Brackins is also surrounded by good perimeter players. Sophomore guard Diante Garrett is second on the team in scoring with 9.7 points per game and leads the team in assists, averaging 5.4 per game.
During K-State’s 65-50 victory over Iowa State on Feb. 3, junior forward Jamie Vanderbeken came off the Cyclones’ bench to score 14 points.
“They continue to get better and improve,” Martin said. “They have tremendous youth. They battle and battle and continue to get better.”
Saturday’s game marks the 207th meeting between the two schools, with the Wildcats holding the series lead over the Cyclones 130-76. K-State has won six consecutive games in this series.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum. The game can be seen on the Fox Sports Network.