The stage is set for a big Monday worthy of the moniker.
Iowa State pulled away in the second half to beat Texas Tech, 86-66, on Saturday. The Cyclones improved to 9-5 in Big 12 play and 19-8 overall and avenged an inexplicable loss at Tech back in January.
ISU will be in fourth place in the Big 12 going into a Monday night game against Kansas on ESPN's "Big Monday." Iowa State has won 22 straight home games and came within an eyelash of beating the Jayhawks in Lawrence earlier this season.
Saturday's 20-point win over Texas Tech kept Iowa State in position for an NCAA tournament invitation come season's end. Beating the woeful Red Raiders didn't strengthen ISU's resume. But avoiding a second loss to TT this season kept the resume looking the same leaving the weekend as it did coming in.
A five-point possession late in the first half was part of a 10-0 run that helped Iowa State separate a little bit and lead by seven at halftime. With ISU leading 28-26, Chris Babb hit a three-point field goal and Melvin was fouled in the battle for rebounding position underneath. Ejim made two free throws and the Cyclones led, 33-26, with 1:12 to play in the half.
Babb made another three with 47 seconds to go in the half to give Iowa State its first double-digit lead at 36-26. Texas Tech answered with a three of its own to make it 36-29 at halftime.
Another try by Babb made it 41-31 Cyclones as a foul-marred second half got underway. A Georges Niang three-point with 13:52 left in the game gave ISU a 50-39 lead. Iowa State got two free throws from Babb at the 12:24 mark to make it 54-40 and Korie Lucious hit a long-distance jumper with 7:38 to go to give the Cyclones their first 20-point lead of the game at 68-48.
The lead swelled to 27 on back-to-back threes by Babb that made it 79-52 with 5:07 left in the game. Iowa State held its biggest lead of 28 points at 81-53 with 4:33 left in the game on a made jumper by Tyrus McGee.
Babb and Clyburn each scored 17 points to lead the Cyclones. Ejim had a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double and McGee was good for 13 points as well. Iowa State outrebounded Texas Tech 43-33 after being -9 on the boards at Lubbock.