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High-scoring Iowa State prepares for Eastern Illinois

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Iowa State has been racking up points and notching blowout victories.

The Cyclones take aim at another large margin of victory on Thursday night when they entertain Eastern Illinois at Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State (9-2) has posted four straight victories by an average margin of 33.3 points. The most impressive was a 90-65 home win over in-state rival Iowa.

The Cyclones won their ensuing two games by 51 and 38 points, pounding Prairie View A&M 107-56 and Florida A&M 96-58.

Sunday’s rout of Florida A&M fell two points shy of being Iowa State’s fifth triumph by 40-plus points this season.

Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger likes the productive victories but is also looking ahead to ensure his squad is ready for Big 12 play, which begins next month.

“It’s important to me that every single day we come with a certain work ethic, a certain level of focus and standards that we uphold,” Otzelberger said. “Regardless of the score or who we’re playing, it’s important that we do that.”

Iowa State averages 86.9 points per game and has scored at least 90 in each of the past four games.

Keshon Gilbert leads the Cyclones with a 15.7 scoring average, with Tamin Lipsey right behind at 15.5.

Lipsey knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers in the rout of Florida A&M.

“Teams can’t sag on him anymore,” Iowa State freshman forward Milan Momcilovic said afterward. “They have to pressure him, so now he has the ability to just drive right downhill and get a layup.”

The Cyclones are 7-0 at home as they battle Eastern Illinois (6-6), which is 0-5 on the road.

However, the Panthers have won three of their past four games, including Sunday’s 87-66 home win over Division III Blackburn College.

Eastern Illinois fell behind 52-50 with just under 13 minutes to play before dominating the rest of the contest.

The Panthers had solid balance against Blackburn, with Corey Sawyer Jr. scoring 18 points, Tiger Booker adding 16, Kyndall Davis contributing 15 and Nakyel Shelton registering 14.

“Everybody on the team can score and everybody can contribute,” Sawyer said. “… The depth of our team is our strong suit.”

Eastern Illinois shot 72.4 percent in the second half to finish at 59.4.

Iowa State has won each of the previous three meetings. The most recent matchup resulted in a 101-53 home rout on Dec. 21, 2018.

–Field Level Media

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