With OU choosing to double-team White, Iowa State's crisp ball movement produced 15 3-pointers, the most surrendered by the Sooners in school history.
“This really was the first time we've seen a team double-team Royce other than a little against Oklahoma State,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “Lon Kruger is one of the best in the business. I have so much respect for him... I knew he would throw something at us.”
It was a risky strategy considering the Cyclones are the only team in the country with four players that have made 37 or more 3-pointers.
For the season, Iowa State has made 204 long-range shots.
It was the fifth time this season the Cyclones have made more 3-pointers than baskets inside the arc.
“We wanted to give some help on White but not any more that would keep us from getting back to their shooters,” Kruger said. “If you go a little bit too far, you don't have good recovery. We have to do all that better. We didn't handle that as well as we needed to.”
The Cyclones filled it up from long distance from the opening tip, shooting a blistering 72.7 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-11) the first 13 minutes of the game.
ISU drained 10 3-pointers in the first half. White had six assists at halftime, seven for the game.
The Sooners (13-9 overall, 3-7 in league play) played catch-up most of the game. OU owned the lead only three times — 4-3 and 7-6 in the early going and 36-35 seconds before halftime.
Iowa State built a 10-point lead early in the second half, but the Sooners answered with an 11-1 run, sparked by three Steven Pledger 3-pointers, to tie it 56-56 with 7:49 remaining.
Appropriately, the Cyclones answered with a Chris Allen 3-pointer on their next possession and the Sooners again were forced to play catch-up down the stretch.
“The nature of any athletic competition is when you have to work to get back (it can) be a little bit draining and fatiguing,” Kruger said. “But you have to work through that and try to push right on by.”
Iowa State (17-6 overall, 7-3 in league play) has been the biggest surprise in the Big 12 this season. The Cyclones have been bolstered by several transfers recruited by Hoiberg a year ago when he took the job. At the top of that group is White, who transferred from Minnesota.
“Royce has gotten so good at throwing those pinpoint passes,” said ISU guard Scott Christopherson. “He's able to see over double-teams. We may not make 15 every (game) it happens but when we're getting shots like that we're probably going to shoot pretty well.”