AMES — There’s no secret formula for how Iowa State racks up Big 12 Conference wins.
“Rebound, get out in transition, be patient on offense,” said Cyclone guard Chris Babb.
ISU (12-4, 2-1) takes on TCU (9-8, 0-4) in Saturday’s 12:45 p.m. game at Fort Worth, Texas.
And speaking of racks: there is a secret recipe for the piles of ribs the Cyclones planned to consume Friday night at Dallas’ Babb Brothers BBQ and Blues.
Babb’s father, Mike, co-owns the family-run business.
“I don’t even know,” Chris Babb said.
“Everyone talks about the ribs,” added Babb, who grew up a Horned Frogs fan and strongly considered playing ball there before leaving for Penn State, then Ames. “I like the turkey and chicken and stuff like that. But everyone always raves about the ribs.”
Babb spent his formative basketball years attending TCU games, frequently sitting alongside the bench of then-coach Neil Dougherty, a family friend.
“There’s a couple times when they were in Conference USA and I think they upset Louisville one game we were there and Cincinnati another year,” Babb said. “Really, my first college experience was being around guys like that and watching those big upsets in front of a sold-out place. Good memories to have.”
They’re just that, memories.
TCU attracted a crowd of 4,872 to its last game — a 67-54 loss to No. 16 Kansas State.
Babb will help raise that total.
“I think I’ve got 25, 30 people,” Babb said.
Fellow guard Tyrus McGee of Stringtown, Okla., will enjoy a cheering section, as well.
ISU’s spark plug and top 3-point shooter said his mother will attend her first game of the season, along with a couple high school teammates and other friends and family.
“I’ve got to play good when she shows up,” said McGee, who’s hitting a Big 12-best 2.9 3-pointers per game off the bench.
Playing well against the Horned Frogs means pushing the pace.
Injury-plagued TCU allows just 56 points per game — 0.9 above its own average.
“We’ve just got to come out aggressive right from the beginning, get out and run in transition if we can get some stops and get the board,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’ve just got to come out and play our game.”
No secret to what that is.
“We’re seventh in the nation in scoring (81.6 points) and our leading guy (Will Clyburn) is about (14) points per game,” Hoiberg said. “That’s pretty good balance. It shows that our guys are playing unselfishly. It shows that they trust each other.”
Passing — the ball and the ribs — is part of their identity.
“We’ve got to keep it rolling,” Babb said.
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