Iowa State lost to TCU on Saturday, February 9, and then didn’t play a midweek game. That lack of a midweek game gave coach Steve Prohm a chance to correct the many flaws his Cyclones displayed against TCU.
It can safely be said that the week of learning and reinforcement paid dividends this Saturday against the Big 12-leading Kansas State Wildcats.
The 78-64 result in favor of Iowa State was viewed with happiness in Lawrence, Kansas, but Iowa State didn’t win this game for the Jayhawks. The Cyclones needed this game for themselves. More precisely, they needed it so that they could remind themselves how good they can be when they are at their best. A convincing win at Kansas State — avenging a home-court loss to the Wildcats earlier this season — is just what the doctor ordered for Iowa State and its coach.
“When our A-team shows up,” Steve Prohm said, “we have a chance to do good things. The things the B-team does, we have to keep them as far away as we can.”
That B-team emerged against TCU. It also emerged in the final few minutes of ISU’s loss to Kansas State in Hilton Coliseum on January 12. The Cyclones led 57-52 with 2:42 left but then failed to score another point. They lost, 58-57, on a slashing Barry Brown layup for K-State with four seconds left. That KSU win is why the Wildcats, not the Cyclones, lead the Big 12 right now, but Iowa State has managed to stay in the hunt for a share of the Big 12 title. It wiped away that memory and the TCU loss with this marvelous performance on the road.
Prohm drew the contrast between the Iowa State team of the past and the Iowa State team which thumped Kansas State in Bramlage Coliseum.
“Soft on defense. Not moving the basketball. Not running the floor. Not sharing. Not being engaged in huddles. Not executing out of timeouts,” Prohm said about the TCU loss. “We had a list of things that weren’t very good.”
Iowa State was very good — if not excellent — throughout this game in Manhattan, Kansas.
The Cyclones hit 14 of 24 threes, six by Talen Horton-Tucker and five by Lindell Wigginton. They dished out 19 assists compared to just 10 turnovers. Marial Shayok pulled down 13 rebounds to give ISU a measure of necessary muscle. In the paint and on the perimeter, the Cyclones let KSU know who was boss.
As a result, the Big 12’s boss for 2019 remains unclear. Kansas State’s two-game cushion in the loss column is now gone.
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