As road trips go, Ames to Iowa City isn’t a long one by college basketball standards. Just over two hours, it was not even long enough to require a plane to get from one place to the other this week.
Yet the bus ride appeared to take something out of No. 20 Iowa State Thursday night. The Cyclones allowed the first 15 points to Iowa and they never mounted any kind of threat in their first true road game this season, losing 75-56.
The Cyclones get to stay home for their next game on Sunday against McNeese in Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State (7-2) did little right against its in-state rival.
“First time on the road for us and it seemed like it got to us,” second-year ISU coach T.J. Otzelberger said.
The Cyclones missed their first seven shots and 10 of their first 11. They warmed up only slightly after that, but for the game made only 3 of 22 shots from 3-point range.
Then there was the normally staunch Cyclone defense, which got carved up by the Hawkeyes, who were missing their top player (Kris Murray). Iowa got 22 points and 11 rebounds from Filip Rebraca and made 50 percent from the field and 12 of 23 on 3-point attempts.
“We’ve got to be who we can be and that’s going to be a physical, tough defensive team,” Otzelberger said. “That’s not who we were out there. The ball shouldn’t be able to move as free as it did.
“We were late to closeouts. We were late to rotations. Just felt like across the board we were on our heels and that’s not going to be a good formula for us going forward.”
St. Bonaventure transfer Jaren Holmes has been Iowa State’s top scorer (13.9 points per game), but he mirrored the rest of his team against Iowa as he made only 3 of 12 shots and finished with just seven points.
Meanwhile, McNeese (3-6) started its weekend trip through the Hawkeye State, edging Northern Iowa 52-49 Friday night for its first road win of the season. The Cowboys overcame 21 turnovers and 41.7 percent shooting by cashing in 18 turnovers for 23 points and holding the Panthers to 29.1 percent shooting from the field.
Roberts Berze came off the bench to score a team-high 12 points, while Johnathan Massie contributed 11 points and three steals. Massie was the man down the stretch, scoring McNeese State’s last seven points. The Cowboys held Northern Iowa without a bucket over the final 4:50, erasing a 48-45 deficit.
Preseason All-Southland Conference pick Christian Shumate is averaging a double-double for McNeese State (11.4 points and 10.1 rebounds), despite making just 10 of 39 foul shots in nine games. McNeese is struggling mightily from the line, canning just 54.0 percent on the season.
Coming off an 11-22 season, the Cowboys were picked fifth in their conference’s preseason poll. Their nonconference schedule has included losses at Baylor and Tennessee.
–Field Level Media