WACO, Texas — Just when Cam Lard was starting to play well, after working his way back into the rotation following a seven-game suspension and with every expression on his face indicating he was having fun playing ball again — he might be inactive for a while.
Iowa State’s 6-foot-9 post player sprained his right ankle in the first half of Tuesday’s 73-70 loss at Baylor and whether he plays in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum is questionable, at best.
If that news wasn’t bad enough, Iowa State lost three days after its big 17-point win against Kansas at Hilton Coliseum.
Losing against the 9-5 Bears was a crusher of a blow for an Iowa State team that built up a lot of national respect after the way it handled the conference’s 14-times-in-a-row regular-season champion. Tyrese Haliburton and Marial Shayok swept conference player of the week honors. The Cyclones were ranked No. 20 by the Associated Press and No. 21 by the coaches.
Thoughts of an NCAA Tournament assignment in downtown Des Moines — at Wells Fargo Arena — were even on the minds of fans. It still can happen, but Prohm’s team must play a bunch better than it played on Tuesday in an arena that was about half full.
Baylor out-hustled Iowa State to most loose balls. Baylor scored easily in the paint. Makai Mason owned the three-point arc.
Lard went down near the Baylor free throw lane with 10:29 left in the first half and Iowa State leading 13-9. He was playing the best ball of his young season — and then the ankle happened.
It’s almost like it’s not fair.
Baylor led 38-30 at the break. There was no Cyclones enthusiasm and maybe too much over-passing at times. It wasn’t anything like the Kansas game.
Lard was helped to the locker room at intermission, then sat with his foot in a boot throughout the second half and watched as the teams were tied at 66-66 until Makai Mason made one of two free throws with 38 seconds left. Baylor rebounded the missed toss, then called timeout with 36.1 to play. Mason made two more free throws 6 seconds later, but Iowa State wasn’t done yet.
Michael Jacobson put back a Nick Weiler-Babb miss as the Cyclones pulled within 69-68 with 16.8 left, at which time Iowa State called timeout.
The Cyclones pressed and nearly forced the Bears to throw the ball away. Mason was fouled again and this time his free throws gave Baylor a 71-68 lead. Lindell Wigginton was fouled with 5.8 to play and officials reviewed the tape to see if it was a two-point attempt or a three-pointer.
It was a two, and Wigginton made both free throws, and it was a one-point game. Baylor led 73-70 after two free throws with 5.0 left, but Iowa State had one last gasp. Babb hustled the ball up the floor, then heaved a long and errant three-point attempt at the horn. Babb fell to the floor as he shot, but no foul was called.
Thus, Iowa State’s record fell to 12-3 after its sixth loss in a row at Baylor.
And for Lard?
He’s questionable for Saturday, at best.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register