By Anthony Hanson, KURE 88.5 Sports Reporter
AMES— Tre King has more than waited his turn.
The senior sat out 592 days due to eligibility rules and then still had fight for minutes in the Iowa State lineup.
On January 4, the Cyclones faced Kansas on the road and King played only eight minutes, he was called for three personal fouls and scored zero points. It was the transfer’s fifth game in the Big 12 conference and Kansas came away with the win 62-60.
On that Saturday, Iowa State was within striking distance of a statement win, but left Lawrence, Kansas empty handed.
One month later, King was the x-factor.
Iowa State remained undefeated at home with a 68-53 defeat of the Big 12 rival No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State snapped an ugly two-game losing streak while holding the lead over the Jayhawks for nearly the entire game.
The Cyclones took the lead with 19:34 to play in the first half and finished ahead of Kansas. The Cyclones led by as much as 19 in the game.
King was one of many factors for Iowa State that improved since the Cyclones lost to Kansas in January and blew a 23-point lead on Monday at Texas Tech.
Missed opportunities and recent avoidable losses have impacted the Cyclones. But on Saturday, the team’s growth, mental focus and sense of urgency was on display.
“We played desperate,” Iowa State guard Jaren Holmes said postgame. “We needed to win this game.”
Iowa State saw nearly six players in double-figures, including King with 10, Osun Osunniyi with 13 and Jaren Holmes leading the way with 15 points. Caleb Grill and Tamin Lipsey each added nine points and Kalscheur finished with eight points.
King provided a boost to Iowa State’s impactful first half. King nearly matched his Cyclone career high in the first frame, with 10 points coming from a variety of spots on the floor. King was a perfect five for five from the field. The six-foot-seven forward found himself open for four jump shots in the Cyclone offense.
“We weren’t good early, middle and late,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said.
In the first half, Kansas finished on a 3:04 scoring drought. The Jayhawks missed a total of 10 three-point field goals and guard Gradey Dick was limited to three points in the first 20 minutes.
At the halftime break, Iowa State led 33-21 and the Cyclones had scored 12 points off 11 Kansas turnovers.
The Cyclones’ first half momentum carried into the second half.
For Holmes, recent sickness cleared in the Cyclone locker room at the break. The senior vomited at halftime and gained the spark he needed to lead Iowa State to finish off Kansas. Holmes scored all of his 15 points in the second half, making four three-point field goals at key times for Iowa State.
Holmes is the leader that sparks the connected-ness in the Iowa State offense, true-freshman point guard Lipsey said. His scoring sparked a cohesive offensive outing for Iowa State.
The Jayhawks finished with one player in double-figures, forward Jalen Wilson. Wilson had 16 points and 11 rebounds in the first matchup between the two teams this season. Wilson again challenged the Cyclones with 26 points and nine rebounds.
Iowa State’s Lipsey finished with a near triple-double. He scored nine points while adding eight rebounds. The freshman from Ames was most proud on his 10 assists. Saturday proved to be a bounce-back game for all Cyclones but especially Lipsey who took the loss to Texas Tech personal.
Lipsey scored 11 points with five personal fouls in Monday’s overtime loss for the Cyclones.
“He felt bad,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said about Lispey’s performance on Monday.
“The way he bounced back it wasn’t with words it was with actions.”