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Hot Shooting, Defense Lift Iowa State Past OU
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

AMES, Iowa - No magic required.

Well, unless you want to consider near perfect free throw shooting, 51 percent accuracy from the floor and 41 percent from 3-point range to be a case of prestidigitation.

It's called Hilton Magic. When Iowa State plays at Hilton Coliseum and there's end-game drama, the Cyclones typically are waving the wand. Fred Hoiberg said Hilton was the most underrated home court in the country and that Iowa State has "the best fans in the country."

Iowa State extended its Hilton winning streak to 20 games with ease. The Cyclones were raining 3-pointers and defensively stuffed visiting Oklahoma to post an 83-64 victory Monday night. The outcome was an outlier. In the previous 40 Big 12 games this season, three have gone overtime and 20 had been decided by 11 points or less.

"We put everything together," said Hoiberg, whose team built a 15-point first-half lead and led 44-31 at the break. "In the first half, we couldn't have played any better."

The teams entered in a four-way tie for third place in the Big 12 standings. Iowa State (16-6, 6-3) extended Oklahoma's recent tailspin. The Sooners (14-7, 5-4) has lost four of their last six after starting Big 12 play 3-0.

"Iowa State dictated from start to finish, beat us in every way," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "They were sharp offensively and defensively. We didn't have much pop on the defensive end."

Oklahoma lost at home Saturday to Kansas State and had to travel. Kruger said the quick turnaround wasn't a factor. Iowa State defeated Baylor here Saturday, overcoming cold shooting from 3-point range.

"We had just a day and a half to put in a game plan against a team that runs a lot of different actions," Hoiberg said. "We really did a good job trusting each other, having each other's backs on the defensive end. We did a great job of guarding their first shots."

Second and third shots? Not so much. The only positive for Oklahoma was a 42-33 rebounding edge and 21 of those were offensive rebounds. That helped the Sooners gain a 23-9 edge in second-chance points. But that's hardly sufficient considering Iowa State outscored OU 33-3 from 3-point range. The Cyclones were 11-of-27, the Sooners 3-of-16.

Combine Iowa State's field goals (28-of-55) and free throws (16-of-18) and the Cyclones were 60 percent shooters.

"They spread the floor, they've got a lot of guys who can make shots and create shots for each other," Kruger said. "That's a good combination."

The Cyclones were 4-of-24 from 3-point range Saturday, missing their first 13. Against Oklahoma, Iowa State made eight of their first 14. Chris Babb splashed a three with 2:46 left in the first half to give the Cyclones a 42-27 lead. Six different Iowa State players had 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.

"That's when we're playing our best," said Babb, who was 4-of-5 from behind the line. "We move the ball well. We made the extra pass and got guys open looks."

Oklahoma's chances of making a rally fizzled because their post players were befuddled most of the night. Romero Osby, Amath M'Baye and Andrew Fitzgerald combined for 26 points on 11 of 33 shooting. Fitzgerald, who scored 27 last year against the Cyclones, came off the bench to score a team-high 12.

Will Clyburn, the Big 12's newcomer of the week, led the Cyclones with 19. He'll probably wind up on SportsCenter's top 10 plays. While Iowa State's long-range shooting got the attention, Clyburn's drive and dunk at the 5:08 mark gave his team a 37-25 lead.

"It hurt," he said, drawing chuckles. "I'm getting' old. My knees can't take that."

The Cyclones have played four games in 10, beating Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma at home and losing at Oklahoma State. They don't play again until traveling to Kansas State Saturday. The Big 12 gantlet pauses, but it never ends.

"We rebounded well against Baylor and that's the one thing from this game we've got to improve," Hoiberg said. "And our defensive effort will have to carry over if we're gonna have a shot at Kansas State Saturday."

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