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Peterson: Iowa State lost against two very good teams in going 1-2 at Battle 4 Atlantis

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Iowa State list against two very good teams in finishing 1-2 at Battle 4 Atlantis
Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — If anything, Iowa State left the Battle 4 Atlantis knowing it can hang with some of the nation’s top teams. The Cyclones, for instance, trailed tournament champion Michigan by just 4 points with 30 seconds left in the opening round. They trailed Seton Hall by 6 with half-a-minute left during the strangest basketball game you’ll ever witness on Friday.

They lost against two teams that were better, plain and simple.

The next step is turning that late-game closeness into victory, after the Cyclones left the Nassau with a 1-2 record after Friday night’s 84-76 loss.

“We have what it takes to compete with the best in the country,” said Rasir Bolton, who started playing like we expected him to play after transferring from Penn State. “We knew coming down here that we’d be facing some of the best teams in the country.”

Again, the next step is doing the things it takes to beat those teams – and in case you hadn’t noticed, Seton Hall comes to Ames on Dec. 8 for a Big East/Big 12 Challenge game.

By then, maybe Iowa State will figure out how to match for 40 minutes Seton Hall’s height, aggressiveness and physicality. If Friday was an indication, the Pirates will be the Cyclones’ tallest and most physical opponent this season.

“We’ve got to figure out a way,” said Prohm, whose team was out-rebounded by 11. “We’re going to play other teams like this. For long stretches, our guys were really competed hard. (Refs) let both teams play and chuck and hit and screen. It was a very physical game, but we have to be better and I have to be better.”

COMBAT SIZE WITH A FOUR-GUARD LINEUP

Iowa State matched Seton Hall’s physicality by playing four guards. That’s not new; it’s what the Cyclones have done for a long time, but it’s not been this season’s style.

For a while, Prohm’s regular lineup hung with the big and rugged Pirates. Eventually, though, Seton Hall, which goes 7-2, 7-1 and 6-11, started taking control.

“We had to do something to get more spacing,” Prohm said. “We had to. We were stuck. We were in good rhythm early, then they raised it up a notch. We didn’t weather that storm. We stopped moving.

“We scored 76 points. We’re right close to 80. If we’re close to 80, we should be in position to win games.”

So the takeaway from this is that the four-guard lineup is a very solid Plan B.

BOLTON BECAME THE PLAYER WE THOUGHT HE’D BECOME

After struggling with 2-of-20 3-point shooting, Rasir Bolton closed the tournament by making half of his final 12 from that distance.

“I thought some kids grew up this week,” Prohm said. “We played three really good teams. I think we have a chance. We have to do it right every day in every area.”

Bolton scored 14 of his 20 points Friday during the second half, and it came on 5-of-8 shooting.

“I’ve never been concerned about my shot,” he said during the three-games-in-three-days tournament. “I knew eventually it’d start to come. I was getting good shots that just weren’t falling.”

CONDITT RAISED HIS GAME

I like what’s going on in the post, the two-headed monsters also known as Thunder and Lightning – Solomon Young and George Conditt.

The Cyclones outscored Michigan by 12 in the paint, and were outscored there by just two against Alabama. That’s passable. That’s decent enough to survive most Big 12 Conference opponents.

Conditt blocked six shots before the Seton Hall game. He averaged 8.0 points in the tournament on 11-of-16 shooting, and just as impressive was the way he stayed out of foul trouble.

That’s the beauty of this Young-Conditt tandem. They can play hard for as long as they’re on the floor.

ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT

Maybe the next time Iowa State and Seton Hall play basketball against each other, hopefully the Hilton Coliseum power works, because Friday night’s game was played during an island blackout.

That’s right. Power was off throughout the island of Nassau for a lot of the game. The game went on, however, because the Imperial Arena had a generator. It was iffy, though, like when Tyrese Haliburton was in the air en route to a second-half layup — and power went out just as he laid it on the backboard.

When power was restored, the basket was counted.

AND FINALLY

“We can play with anybody,” Haliburton said. “We already did that. I think we saw three different ways people are going to guard us — and I think we did pretty well.”

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at rpeterson@dmreg.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.

Source: Des Moines Register