COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Tigers rebounded from the end of their home win streak in a big way Wednesday night with a 65-56 win over Iowa State.
Despite a series of injuries and illnesses affecting three starters, the Tigers out shot and out rebounded the Cyclones.
Senior guard J.T. Tiller posted a season high 17 points to lead the tigers in scoring and added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals while struggling with a broken nose.
“He was in attack mode tonight,” head coach Mike Anderson said. “J.T. is just all heart.”
Tiller started the game wearing a face mask to protect his nose, but said he couldn’t see out of it and removed it 23 seconds into the game.
“It’s always nice to have a good scoring night, but as long as we win I’m not going to object to anything,” Tiller said.
The final score looks like a resounding win for the Tigers, yet the Cyclones managed to stay with the Tigers up to the final two minutes of the game when sophomore guard Kim English hit a key three point shot to extend the Tiger lead to 6.
“I didn’t know it was a big shot,” English said. “It was just a shot we needed.”
English played just one minute in the first half after recording two very early fouls. In his absence, sophomore Marcus Denmon scored 8 points in the first half off the bench.
Junior Justin Safford and sophomore Laurence Bowers each had big games in the paint for the Tigers. Bowers posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Safford added 13 points and 9 rebounds to narrowly miss a double-double himself.
The Tigers will need a similar effort from their big men when they next take the floor against Baylor this Saturday.
The Tigers had some trouble getting shots to fall early in the first half, but Anderson said the defense had a good rhythm all night and picked up the slack early on. Despite the early shooting problems, the Tigers still out shot the Cyclones by nearly 7 percent.
“I think we’re a better shooting team than we displayed in this particular game,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the tempo just wasn’t there offensively in the first half.
“We just had to find that rhythm and we finally did in the last ten minutes,” English said. “We feel that that’s our time.”
This win improves the Tigers’ record to 18-6 and 6-3 in Big 12 conference play, creating a three way tie for second place in the conference with Kansas State and Texas A & M.