November 23, 2014

Hoops preview: Iowa at Purdue, ISU hosts Kansas St.

The Iowa Hawkeyes return to Big Ten action on Sunday with a visit to Purdue. The Hawks are 2-4 in the Big Ten and take on a Purdue team that has played well in the conference race after getting off to a slow start. “Purdue has been impressive to me,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says. “It’ll be a tough game.”

Purdue is 3-3 in the Big Ten after a 68-53 loss at second-ranked Michigan Thursday. McCaffery is hoping the Hawkeyes can do a better job of executing at the offensive end against the Boilermakers. “That was an issue against Michigan State at home and it was an issue down the stretch against Indiana,” McCaffery says.

Free throws were also an issue in this week’s loss at Ohio State as the Hawks connected on only 13 of 26 from the stripe. Iowa and Purdue tipoff at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Iowa State is at home on Saturday to take on Big 12 rival Kansas State. The Wildcats are 4-1 in the league race after a loss at home to Kansas, while the Cyclones are trying to bounce back from a disappointing loss at Texas Tech. “We have got to protect our home court,” ISU coach Fred Hoiberg says.

Forward Melvin Ejim says the Cyclones will need a much better effort to have a chance against the Wildcats. “They’re a great team and they’re playing really well right now,” Ejim says. “We’ve just got to get back to doing what we do, focus up and play the type of (basketball) that we play. We need to get up and down, defend and really get back to what we were doing when we were so successful.”

Iowa State is 3-2 in the Big 12. The Cyclones and Wildcats tipoff at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Ames.