• Box Score: Iowa State 80, Oklahoma 69
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AMES, Iowa (AP) — Few players mean more to their team than Iowa State’s Royce White — the only guy in the country to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
The Cyclones showed Saturday they’ve got more than just White in downing defenseless Oklahoma.
Scott Christopherson scored 25 points to surpass 1,000 in his college career, Chris Allen added 16 and Iowa State beat Oklahoma 80-69 for its fifth win in seven games.
Melvin Ejim had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Cyclones (19-8, 9-5 Big 12), who’ve won five straight league games at home for the first time in eight years.
Iowa State cruised past the scuffling Sooners without much help from White, who battled foul trouble and scored just four points. The Cyclones went on a 15-6 run following White’s fourth foul with 12:17 left, opening an insurmountable 18-point lead.
“We were good, and we practice that,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We practice a lot of situations where Royce is out of the game, certain sets that we get into. We just found something that was working for us.”
Cameron Clark led five in double figures with 16 points for the Sooners (13-13, 3-11), who’ve lost six straight and have fallen to .500 for the first time this season.
The Sooners, who rank last in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage defense, let the Cyclones shoot 51.9 percent from the floor.
“I thought Christopherson made some big plays at critical times to keep us at arm’s length, and we couldn’t get quite back seriously into it,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said.
Iowa State fans had cause for concern when White went to the bench. No worries for the Cyclones, though: Christopherson and his teammates picked up the slack.
Christopherson buried a 3 to put Iowa State back up by double digits, 53-41. Tyrus McGee followed with another 3, and Christopherson pulled up from about 25 feet and drilled one to make it 59-41 Iowa State with 8:43 left.
“We just kept grinding away, grinding away, and we were able to string a few stops together,” Christopherson said. “We were able to get some good stuff going in the second half.”
Things got chippy on both sides in the second half, culminating in Ejim’s ejection following a rough screen with 4:31 left.
Oklahoma focused much of its defensive effort at White when these teams met two weeks ago in Norman. White scored just three points, but the Cyclones adapted by taking 30 3-pointers, hitting half of them and escaping with a 77-70 win.
White was limited in the first half by foul trouble — though he did have eight assists on Saturday — and Ejim, who had scored a team-high 21 points in the first meeting, left for the locker room midway through the first half after landing awkwardly on his right shoulder.
Ejim quickly returned, and his short bank shot put the Cyclones ahead 29-20 with 3:55 left in the first half.
Iowa State, behind 4-of-5 shooting from Christopherson, led 37-28 at the break.
The Sooners quickly cut it to 37-33, but White answered with his first basket. Those were the only points of the first six minutes of the second half for ISU until Christopherson pulled up in transition for an open 3 that made it 42-35.
Christopherson “gave us great leadership,” Hoiberg said.
“Obviously, with Royce getting into foul trouble early ... (Christopherson) was out there running the show for us,” the coach said. “And I thought he did a tremendous job of getting the ball moved around.”
Sam Grooms and Carl Blair each scored 12 points for Oklahoma, whose season is in free fall after a promising start. Steven Pledger, Oklahoma’s leading scorer, had just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting as Iowa State guard Chris Babb gave him issues all afternoon.
Saturday’s date with the Sooners and Wednesday’s with last-place Texas Tech are games the Cyclones simply can’t afford to lose as they shoot for their first NCAA tournament berth in seven years.
Iowa State survived the first leg of the homestand, overcoming a rough day from White with a complete team effort. It included freshman post player Percy Gibson, who produced 11 points and matched a career high with seven rebounds.
Grooms said stopping Iowa State isn’t easy.
“Because they’re a team surrounded by so many good shooters and other good players, it’s a hard job,” he said. “You have to pay so much attention to Royce.”
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