With 9:10 remaining, Kansas State led 61-52. In response to a pair of Iowa State baskets, Gipson and Rodriguez both scored and put the Wildcats up 65-55 — the first double-digit lead of the game.
From there, Kansas State began to pull away.
A 3 by Rodriguez and a three-point play by Gipson put the Wildcats up 71-57 with 4:53 to play. Consecutive 3s by Lucious pulled the Cyclones within seven with under a minute to play, but Iowa State could not stop Kansas State from scoring.
"Everybody's talking about, 'You guys are in first place,' and all that, but we're pretty much halfway through the Big 12, so there's a lot of games left," Rodriguez said. "Does it feel good? Yeah. But we can't settle."
The final score reflected how the game began, as the Wildcats leapt out to an early 11-2 lead. After a Kansas State turnover, Chris Babb sank an open 3, bringing Iowa State within 11-5.
A three-point play by Ejim a few possessions later cut the deficit to 16-10. After Gipson made one of two free throws, Iowa State kicked into high gear. Living up to their identity as a 3-point shooting team, the Cyclones went on a 16-2 tear that began with a 3 by Lucious. After he knocked down a pair of free throws, three more 3s gave the Cyclones a 26-19 lead with 7:02 to go before halftime.
The Wildcats responded with a 9-0 run of their own. McGruder and Southwell each hit a 3-pointer to bring Kansas State within 28-25. A slashing layup in transition by Rodriguez made it a one-point game. A pair of free throws by Irving gave the Wildcats the lead once again, 29-28.
Kansas State went up by four after a tip-in by Southwell, but Iowa State scored back-to-back baskets, and the Cyclones led 32-31. A layup rolled in for Irving and gave the Wildcats a one-point lead at halftime.
"That's not a good team," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "That's a great team."