Iowa State picked the wrong time for all of its shooters to go stone-cold at the same time
Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
AMES, Ia. — Clank. Dud. Thud.
Bad, bad loss.
You know that game Iowa State fans were fearful sometime might happen? Well, it happened on a Saturday afternoon inside Hilton Coliseum:
The 16th-ranked Cyclones’ perimeter shooters all went cold in the same game, and the result was an ugly 92-83 humbling against a TCU team that came to Ames without a road win against a ranked opponent in two decades — since 1998.
“We weren’t good (Saturday), and if you’re not good in league play against teams that are good, then you’re going to get beat,” coach Steve Prohm said. “You can play well in our league, and still get beat.”
And if you don’t play well?
Not long after the NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed Prohm’s team to be the first of the No. 4 seeds – No. 13 overall – on its annual early disclosure of the top 16 seeds Saturday morning, Iowa State laid an egg.
Just when fans were thinking about the Cyclones realistically being one of the teams to knock Kansas off its Big 12 regular-season throne — perimeter players missed long-range shots they normally make.
And just as Iowa State’s starting to pick up more national steam — the long-range shooters went frigid at the same time.
“You have to make shots at some point, and we didn’t do that,” Prohm said while scanning the stat sheet.
Iowa State coach Steve Prohm talks about the Cyclones’ upset loss to TCU on Saturday in Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
Tommy Birch, email@example.com
Inside the bottom line of Iowa State’s 29.2 percent three-point shooting that included missing 10 of 11 from deep in the first half was this:
Marial Shayok was 1-for-7.
Lindell Wigginton was 2-for-5.
Nick Weiler-Babb was 3-for-7, and freshmen Tyrese Haliburton and Talen Horton-Tucker combined to go 1-for-5.
“We got some really good looks, especially myself,” said Shayok, who scored 24 points on 7-of-17 shooting regardless of distance. “I got good looks I know I should make. We weren’t as focused and locked in as we’d been in the past.”
He wasn’t alone. Each of his teammates missed open three-pointers they usually make. To go clank at home — when everyone knows the Big 12 race is as close right now as ever — sure you can credit TCU’s defense, but Cyclones shooters had a lot to do with that, too.
All turning to ice on the same day? In fairness, it’s the first time that’s happened — but it happened at the most critical juncture of the season.
“We didn’t shoot like we normally do,” Mike Jacobson said. “I felt like we got good looks, and (the looks) we wanted for the most part. It was just one of those days.”
Babb ended Iowa State’s first possession with a three-pointer in the corner. The Cyclones led 13-4. Cyclone Nation was ecstatic — and then suddenly, the players for whom they cheered went cold.
Over the next seven game-turning minutes, Iowa State combined to miss eight of nine shots while TCU was in the midst of a 22-2 run of point.
“We weren’t very good, and TCU had things to do with it, for sure,” Prohm said “After the first five minutes of the game, they really ratcheted it up. It’s 13-4, and Marial’s got a transition three-pointer that’s wide open. Sometimes that happens.”
It happens from all places on the floor — not just long-range. Take Jacobson’s 8-of-10 away from the statistics, and Iowa State’s overall shooting percentage plummets from 45.2 percent to 38.4.
I don’t care which Big 12 team you’re facing, you’re not beating many of them by shooting that horribly — unless you’re playing wonderful defense.
And, this just in — Iowa State didn’t do that very well, either.
“I don’t think we put a special emphasis on any one of them individually,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said when asked about his team’s defensive strategy. “It was four of them— five, with Wigginton coming off the bench. We switched a lot of stuff, so it was going to be different guys guarding them.
“They missed some early shots. Late in the first half, I think they missed some open ones, and that helped us.”
TCU led by 19 points with 9:46 left. Iowa State slapped on the full court press it rarely uses — and not surprisingly, it wasn’t good enough to recover from the big deficit. Relentless defensive pressure from end to end isn’t something Iowa State does very much.
“You do what you know, and you do what you feel comfortable with and you don’t get outside that,” Prohm said when asked about full-court pressing during Friday’s session with reporters. “I would rather be a fundamentally sound half-court defensive team and pick up here and there three-quarters court.”
So Iowa State’s records fell to 7-4 in the Big 12 and 18-6 overall. And about the No. 4 seed? And about being selected to play in the Des Moines Regional?
“We’ve done a lot of good things, when you look at the quality wins we have,” said Prohm, whose next game is Feb. 16 at Kansas State. “We just weren’t very good, and TCU had a lot to do with that.”
“We got humbled, and now we have to go try to humble someone else.”
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