KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Big 12 Tournament represented a challenge for the Cyclones.
So far, Iowa State's passed with flying colors through two games. Entering the tournament, the Cyclones were floundering, losing six of their final eight games.
Iowa State desperately needed a win. The Cyclones received a win over Baylor, but they cruised through it without any major snags.
On Friday, the Cyclones not only won a 63-59 game over Kansas State, but they won a highly contested game with swings throughout.
The game finished with a happy ending for Cyclone fans, but Iowa State wasn't without its flaws.
Iowa State tallied 17 turnovers — the second most in a game this season. The Cyclones anchored down on defense to minimize the blow of eight first half turnovers, but the Wildcats made their run in the second half.
Iowa State's shooting percentage slumped from 50 percent in the first half to about 32 percent in the second half, while keeping about the same pace on turnovers.
As a result, the Cyclones failed to blow by the Wildcats and had to fight late in the game to secure a tight win. Whether it be the Big 12 Championship or the NCAA Tournament, the Cyclones play a dangerous game with 15 or more turnovers.
While Iowa State had the second most turnovers in a game this season on Friday, it did the same with rebounds.
The Cyclones eclipsed the 40 mark for rebounds with 43 total and 10 of those coming on the offensive end of the court.
On the flip side, Kansas State secured 29 boards with eight of those on offense. The poster boy of the rebounding effort was junior forward Michael Jacobson.
Jacobson feasted down low with four offensive rebounds and 12 defensive rebounds, tallying a game-high 16.
The Cyclones have the shooting and enough defense to compete with anyone in the country, but when they also are a force rebounding, Iowa State excels.
Same teams, different year
The last time a team not named Iowa State or Kansas won the Big 12 Tournament, West Virginia and Texas Christian were playing in other conference tournaments.
This year marks the seventh time in a row the Jayhawks or Cyclones take the crown with Missouri — now an SEC member — cutting down the nets in 2012.
Kansas and Iowa State present one of the best games from an atmosphere perspective. Lawrence, Kansas, and Ames, Iowa, sit within driving distance of Kansas City, Missouri, and both teams' recent tournament results should motivate fans.
The Sprint Center should be full and loud at 5 p.m. Saturday.