By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service
Oklahoma State’s five-game conference road win streak will be in jeopardy when the No. 13-ranked Cowboys travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum for ISU’s Senior Night at 6 p.m. Wednesday on ESPNU.
The Cyclones have lost just one game at home — a 108-96 overtime defeat to Kansas last week — while winning 15 other contests in an atmosphere referred as “Hilton Magic.”
“I have no clue about (Hilton Magic), and I’m not interested in finding out either,” OSU sophomore Brian Williams said.
Williams, who made his first appearance of the year in OSU’s 78-76 last-second victory over Iowa State at Gallagher-Iba Arena, will likely play a much bigger role this time around against the perimeter-heavy Iowa State squad.
“I didn’t have a very good outing the last time we played against them with it being my first game back. I felt like I was trying to do too much, too fast,” Williams said. “But I feel like I’m close to back to where I was, so I’m excited to play them again. They shoot the rock, so I feel I’ll really be needed this game.”
In that overtime loss to KU, Iowa State hit a school-record 17 3-pointers and lead the nation with nearly 10 3-pointers made per contest. Because of that, the Cyclones are ranked fourth in the country in scoring with 79.7 points per game.
“They are as good an offensive team as I’ve seen in a while,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “... And there’s no question it starts at the 3-point line. You’ve got to go ahead and count on them making seven or eight — they are going to make that many. Hopefully they just don’t make 13 again — or 14, 15, or 17.”
The last time out between the Cyclones and Cowboys, Iowa State knocked down 13 3-pointers, shooting 54 percent from behind the arc. The Cowboys rank 116th in the nation in 3-point field goal defense, with teams shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point range — which ranks seventh in the Big 12 Conference, the worst of any conference team with a winning record.
It was a 3-pointer that decided the game in Ames last year against Oklahoma State. The Cyclones hit a buzzer-beater to win 71-68. The last four games between the two teams have been decided by three points or less.
“It’s one of the toughest places to play. I’d rather play at Kansas than Iowa State,” Le’Bryan Nash said. “When you have a team that can just shoot 3s when they’re at home, it gets crazy. It’s a crazy place.
“I experienced that last year when they hit the game-winning shot and I couldn’t hear anything. All I could hear was the crowd cheering. It was a tough place to play.”
Jason Elmquist is the sports editor for the Stillwater NewsPress.