Big 12

February 10, 2014

Kellis Robinett’s Big 12 Report (Feb. 11)

Melvin Ejim is the proud owner of the most impressive stat line you will see from a college basketball player this season.

Melvin Ejim is the proud owner of the most impressive stat line you will see from a college basketball player this season.

On Saturday, the Iowa State senior forward played his way into the record book with 48 points and 18 rebounds in an easy victory over TCU. No player in Big 12 history has scored more points in a game — former K-State players Michael Beasley and Denis Clemente held the previous record with 44 points — and that alone is a testament to his big game. The fact that he only needed 24 shots, making 20, to set the mark is jaw-dropping.

It overshadowed previously strong games from West Virginia’s Juwan Staten (35 points against Kansas State) and K-State’s Marcus Foster (34 points against Texas).

“He obviously had an incredible game,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You look at all the great player who have been through this league — Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley — nobody has put up that type of point production. It was a great game. The thing that was fun for me to watch was our players keep feeding him the ball. We had 32 field goals on 27 assists.”

Ejim seems like an unlikely player to hold the Big 12’s single-game scoring mark, considering his previous career-high was 23 points, but he is in the midst of a strong season. He is now averaging nearly 20 points and nine rebounds.

When asked to analyze Ejim’s memorable day, TCU coach Trent Johnson simply said, “We couldn’t guard him.”

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins added: “What an unbelievable day. I can’t remember a guy going 20 of 24.”

It happened on Saturday. Good luck finding a more impressive effort.

Two reactions to the Marcus Smart incident

“I definitely think every coach will use this as a teaching moment,” — Baylor coach Scott Drew

“The whole thing is, you don’t communicate with fans. It’s water off your back.” — Kansas coach Bill Self

Power rankings

Before Monday’s game

1. Kansas (18-5, 9-1): The Jayhawks are favored to win the Big 12, but they may not produce the conference’s Player of the Year. Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid will both be considered, but their stats don’t stand out in a balanced offense.

2. Texas (18-5, 7-3): The Longhorns have a long history of peaking in February and limping into the NCAA Tournament under Rick Barnes. It’s too early to tell if the same fate awaits this season, but the last week wasn’t encouraging.

3. Iowa State (18-4, 6-4): Don’t be surprised if Iowa State makes a late push up the standings. The hardest part of its schedule is over.

4. Oklahoma (18-6, 7-3): Most teams face difficult travel when they play at West Virginia, but few endure the challenges that Oklahoma faced last week. The Sooners’ flight was diverted to Newark, because of snow, and they didn’t reach Morgantown until hours before tip. Then they couldn’t fly home to Norman that night.

5. Kansas State (16-7, 6-4): The Wildcats are home warriors. Under Bruce Weber, the Wildcats are 28-2 at Bramlage Coliseum. A road win or two will clinch their spot in the NCAA Tournament.

6. West Virginia (14-10, 6-5): No team has improved more since the start of conference play. The Mountaineers are tough at home and just pushed Kansas on the road.

7. Texas Tech (12-11, 4-6): Most will remember Saturday’s game for the Smart incident, and that’s a shame. Texas Tech won an important game in front of a sellout crowd at United Spirit Arena.

8. Baylor (14-9, 2-8): Its only victory since early January came against reeling Oklahoma State.

9. TCU (9-13, 0-10): The Horned Frogs get a boost in the power rankings, because Oklahoma State is in a total free fall.

10. Oklahoma State (16-7, 6-4): The team that was once picked to win the Big 12 is headed for the NIT or worse. The Cowboys have lost four in a row. Now they won’t have Smart for three games. Things could get even worse.

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