The No. 18 Kansas State Wildcats’ nine-game conference winning streak ended in a 78-64 loss to No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday.
The Cyclones kept a hot hand all afternoon, shooting 53 percent from the field and 58 percent from three.
Iowa State entered the match-up first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage and second in the conference in three-point percentage. The Wildcats came in eighth and seventh, respectively.
Sophomore guard Lindell Wigginton and freshman guard Talen Horton-Tucker combined for 43 points on the afternoon. Wigginton led Iowa State in scoring with 23 points off the bench, and Horton-Tucker erupted with 20 points. Horton-Tucker scored 14 consecutive points for the Cyclones to end the first half.
Three-point shots were the culprit in the loss for K-State both offensively and defensively. The Wildcats shot just 26 percent (5-of-19) compared to Iowa State’s 58 percent (14-of-24) from the three-point line.
After the game, K-State head coach Bruce Weber talked about the Cyclone’s 14 threes on the afternoon.
“You get in a heat check, and we’ve been there,” Weber said. “We were at Oklahoma State a few weeks ago and we hit 16, and there are games like that where everyone gets going.”
With the threat of the three, it allowed Iowa State to get space down low. The Cyclones scored 28 points in the paint on the afternoon.
“Now they are making threes so now you are worried about it, instead of protecting the paint,” Weber said. “Those are the baskets that, in essence, you are giving them layups.”
The Wildcats did not shoot poorly in the slightest; in fact, K-State shot just around its season average. The Wildcats shot 42 percent from the field — the season average is 43 percent. The team recently defeated Baylor 70-63 shooting 40 percent.
It is hard for even the best defenses to stop hot shooting. Throughout the game, it seemed like just as K-State began to get close, the Cyclones would hit a crucial bucket — usually it was a long three.
The Wildcats even switched into a zone defense to try to challenge the Cyclone guards to take bad shots and to limit the points in the paint, but Iowa State continued to make shots.
One of the biggest examples of the hot shooting of Iowa State came in the first half when Horton-Tucker hit a three over 6-foot-10 senior forward Dean Wade.
K-State managed a late comeback in the second half, trailing 60-64, before the Cyclones went on a quick 8-0 run that was capped off with another long, contested three by Horton-Tucker to take a 60-72 to seal the game.
The Wildcats still sit on top of the Big 12 but will have to move on to the next game. K-State will play a struggling West Virginia on the road at 8 p.m. Monday on ESPN.