They were eventually going to lose, and Saturday was a prime time for Loss No. 1 — on the road, early tip against a talented, battle-tested team.
Then consider the Sooners shooting 13-for-30 from three-point range — Iowa State's defensive rotations were pretty bad, but OU had Buddy Hield (6-for-12) and Isaiah Cousins (3-for-6) — and grabbing 13 offensive rebounds, seven courtesy of Ryan Spangler, who bested Dustin Hogue in the battle of the Big 12's best two rebounders.
The final: Oklahoma 87, No. 9 Iowa State 82. Not terrible. And not newsworthy anymore, not with DeAndre Kane twisting his left ankle after missing a layup with 24 seconds left. Kane was carried off the floor and then helped off the court by his teammates. A postgame X-ray was negative, per multiple reports, but Kane's status for Monday's tilt against Kansas is in serious doubt.
Ames Tribune beat writer Travis Hines snapped this photo of Kane leaving Lloyd Noble Center on crutches with Cyclones trainer Vic Miller, Kane's left ankle heavily wrapped:
Kane has been Iowa State's rock this season in his first year after transferring from Marshall and, while the Cyclones have gotten steady play from Monté Morris and Naz Long, any extended absence would be a serious blow to the Cyclones' Big 12 title chances. On Saturday, Kane turned the ball over seven times and missed five free throws but also recorded 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting, with nine rebounds and four assists.
On the season he's averaging 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Entering the game against OU, Kane was using a team-high 27.6 percent of Iowa State's possessions (No. 148 nationally) and playing a team-high 76.7 percent of available minutes per game.
We might find out if Iowa State's lack of depth really matters too much. The Cyclones will put their best five against any team in the nation, but the bench is short, Morris and Long being the lone contributors. A starting five of Morris-Matt Thomas-Dustin Hogue-Melvin Ejim-Georges Niang is enough to beat a Kansas team that has yet to scrape its ceiling, but the Cyclones will be left with one quality contributor off the bench in Long.
Fortunately for the Cyclones, Kane will have time to rest without missing many games. Monday's game against Kansas is a short turnaround, but then there are five days between that game and an away contest at Texas, then a whole week off until home against Kansas State.
After the Jan. 25 game versus Kansas State, the Cyclones (14-1) have four days off until Jan. 29 at Kansas.
So while Kane might end up missing some high-profile games and chances to boost Iowa State's seeding, the volume of games won't be high if the injury isn't too serious.