AMES, Iowa (AP) — After a lofty start this season, No. 8 Texas Tech was humbled this week.
The Big 12 has a way of doing that — even ones as experienced and talented as the Red Raiders.
Freshman Cameron Lard scored 18 points and Iowa State cruised past Texas Tech 70-52 on Saturday, its first win over a ranked opponent this season and its biggest win over a Top-10 team in terms of margin of victory.
Nick Weiler-Babb, Lindell Wigginton and Donovan Jackson each added 13 points for the Cyclones (11-7, 2-5 Big 12), who handed the Red Raiders (15-4, 4-3) their second straight loss to an unranked opponent on the road.
“We’re going to have to fight and get back up. That’s life in the Big 12,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said.
The Cyclones were ready for the Red Raiders from the opening tip, jumping ahead 31-18 late in the first half. That seemed to wake up the Red Raiders, who responded with a run to go up 35-34.
But Iowa State answered with a 13-1 burst capped by Wigginton’s jumper that gave put the Cyclones ahead 47-36, and Tech ran out of answers.
Weiler-Babb’s desperation 3 to beat the shot clock made it 57-40 with 7:26 left. He buried another clock-beating 3 on a turnaround to push the lead to 69-49.
“I was really proud of the way they competed,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm, who challenged his team this week after they lost at No. 24 TCU 96-73.
Zhaire Smith had 10 points for Tech, whose leading scorer Keenan Evans was held to seven points on 2 of 12 shooting.
“We got a lot of good shots … we just weren’t really hitting them — and on the defensive end we weren’t playing great defense,” Tech’s Justin Gray said.
THE BIG PICTURE
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders were sluggish in the first half, and Evans didn’t get his first basket until nearly 18 minutes had gone by. But even though Iowa State is in a rebuilding season, the Cyclones can play with anyone in the league when they’re on like they were on Saturday. “When they make shots like that, they’re a very good team,” Beard said.
Iowa State: The Cyclones more than made up for an embarrassing effort against the Horned Frogs. Lard was at times the best player on the floor, again showing he’s an important building block for Iowa State. Lard also had six rebounds and three blocks.
The Red Raiders will likely take a big tumble Monday. They also lost at Texas, 67-58, this week.
Texas Tech couldn’t buy a basket outside of its one run. The Red Raiders finished 20 of 59 from the floor and 6 of 26 from 3-point range. Tech’s nationally rated defense disappeared as well, allowing an up-and-down Cyclones attack to shoot 47 percent. The Red Raiders also committed 15 turnovers — with six players losing the ball more than once.
NOT TOO BAD, WEILER-BABB
Weiler-Babb has been a revelation after moving from small forward to point guard in November, and this might have been his signature effort. He added seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks to those two marvelous 3s. But Weiler-Babb gave the energetic Lard credit for helping Iowa State respond to that loss to the Horned Frogs. “He’s our emotion. He’s the guy that gets us going,” Weiler-Babb said of Lard, who was 9 of 11 from the field.
HE SAID IT
“It’s a like a coaching cliche, but the league is very good. Every team has NBA prospects. Every team is well coached,” Beard said.