116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Leaving home presents challenges for any team, but for Iowa State, road trips have been a refocusing tool and a chance to take a deep breath.
Hilton Coliseum is a distinct home court advantage, but with two losses in that building this season, the Cyclones have relished the opportunities going on the road provides. Iowa State hasn't shied away from the expectations of its crowd, but leaving home has allowed it to grow in other ways.
'You really have to play as a team and we've taken that mindset into most of our road games this year and have really stuck together as a team and played together,' said guard Matt Thomas. 'We've played some of our better games this season, I think, on the road. That just shows how close we are as a team right now.'
No. 15 Iowa State is on the road for the third time in four games, this time at Texas Tech, and owns the second-best mark among Big 12 teams in true road games. The Cyclones (17-6, 6-4) are 4-3 in true road games with three wins coming in conference play.
Wins at Cincinnati, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma State — with the three losses coming to current top-25 teams — are on the ISU resume, but the road wins have been situated at trying times.
The win at Cincinnati came on the heels of the Cyclones' first loss of the season, while the win against the Wildcats was achieved while Hallice Cooke served a one-game suspension. The TCU win was situated between home games against Oklahoma and Kansas and Jameel McKay served a suspension for the win against the Cowboys.
McKay is suspended indefinitely and also will miss the game against the Red Raiders (13-9, 3-7), but Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said his team has handled distractions well on the road so far.
'I think just being on the road sometimes, you can get away from things,' Prohm said. 'Your focus level, it's kind of like me and you against the world a little bit. That's how it's going to be for us. We've got four more road games and four at home. Our focus has to be good.'
Iowa State has lost two of its last three games at Texas Tech, but already beat the Red Raiders, 76-69, on Jan. 6 in Ames. Devaugntah Williams leads them in scoring, but Toddrick Gotcher is Texas Tech's biggest threat from 3-point range, averaging 10.8 points and shooting 39.2 percent from outside.
Prohm called Gotcher a game-changer from the perimeter as evidenced by the matchup in Lubbock last year when Gotcher hit five 3-pointers for 17 points in helping the Red Raiders to the upset.
'What I remember from when he got in the game, he really was hitting shots that you make when you're shooting around in the gym wide open and uncontested,' said senior Georges Niang. 'I think making every catch for him hard and every shot a challenge and a contested shot and Matt just working his defensive magic. That's basically it.'
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