FORT WORTH, Texas - No sign of Kelso, Donna or Red Forman at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. But it was That '70s Show ... or, more accurately, That '70s Game.
Iowa State came in averaging 80 points per game and had failed to reach 70 only once while TCU has allowed just one foe to score 70 points this season. "That's a heckuva stat," Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said. The Horned Frogs play a deliberate offensive style and are tenacious defensively.
This was a clash of styles, stripes vs. plaid, barbeque vs. French cuisine. Iowa State didn't score a fashion triumph, but it did prevail. In a grinding game, the Cyclones had just enough to defeat TCU, 63-50, Saturday.
Iowa State is 13-4 overall and its 3-1 start is its best in Big 12 play since going 4-0 in 1999-2000. The Cyclones won because they were able to win despite going most of the game without establishing the kind of free-flowing offensive style they covet. It was the fewest points Iowa State has scored this season.
"It was tough," said junior Melvin Ejim, who recorded eighth double-double this season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. "We like to play a fast tempo game. They slow it down. But to go on the road and win this kind of game, that shows we have versatility as a team."
TCU (9-9, 0-5) showed its spunk in the first 10 minutes. Posts Devonta Abron and Garlon Greene, who each finished with 10 points, were winning their one-on-one matches and scoring from in close. Just over 10 minutes into the first half and it was a 22-all game.
Frogs first-year coach Trent Johnson called a timeout with 8:17 remaining because he sensed a coming storm.
"Iowa State is a good, experienced team," said Johnson, whose team is averaging 48 points per game in five Big 12 contests. "At that point, I told our guys, this is where we've collapsed this season, when we're in the game and we let it get away. I told 'em, 'They're coming.' It's about mental toughness."
Unfortunately for TCU, Johnson's premonition was correct. The Cyclones closed the half with a 14-4 run that provided a 36-26 halftime lead.
"That run right before the half hurt us," Johnson said. "That gave 'em a cushion. Our margin of error is so small, being down double digits puts a lot of pressure on our defense."
Tyrus "The Virus" McGee came off the bench to score 16 for Iowa State. He had seven during the Cyclones' decisive run. McGree is from Stringtown, Okla., and his mother Wilma was in the house. That's usually bad news for opponents.
"I always give my best but when my mom's at the game, I play better," McGee said.
Iowa State is now in a three-tie for third place in the Big 12 with Oklahoma and Baylor. Against TCU, the Cyclones shot 50 percent and had a 38-33 rebounding edge.
"I like where we are," said Hoiberg, whose team plays at Texas Tech Wednesday. "We gave up too many offensive rebounds and made too turnovers but we won and that's important. Early in the game we didn't do a great job on the boards. We were able to extend our lead when we got some stops and were able to get out and run."
Iowa State maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half, pushing its advantage to 15 points with just over 12 minutes remaining. TCU battled for 17 offensive rebounds but only had 14 second chance points. Also, the Frogs had a 22-3 edge in free throw attempts, but made just nine from the line.
TCU has started 0-5 in conference play for the first time since losing its first five games in Conference USA in the 2001-02 season.
"We've been here before," Johnson said, heaving a sigh. "One of things (that happens) when you are under-manned and play experienced talented teams, it tests your competitiveness, you're mental toughness. Frustrating isn't the right word. It's annoying."