The conclusion was that close — admirable for a team that looked so down and out with 14 minutes left. The fact they didn’t just go through the motions until game’s end, shows me there’s still a spark, which Saturday was provided by players that started the game on the bench.
Iowa State is 9-10 after losing for the sixth time in the past eight games. The Cyclones are shooting a not-so-good 31.3% from 3-point range, which ranks in the 200s nationally. This deep into the season, is there reason to think that poor percentage will suddenly become good?
Tyrese Haliburton talks about Iowa State’s second half in loss at Auburn
Des Moines Register
“Our guys really grew up in the second half, to where we showed some resiliency and character,” Prohm said. “We were able to spread them out. The guys made some plays, and we put ourselves in position to win.
“Hopefully we can break through Wednesday.”
The lineup of Tyrese Haliburton, Bolton, Terrence Lewis, Solomon Young and Zion Griffin scrapped, clawed, latched onto loose balls and got Auburn out of its offensive flow with aggressive defense. That lineup was on the floor when the Tigers led by nearly 20 points early in the second half. That lineup was within a made Lewis 3-pointer from the corner with 9 seconds left of cutting that huge deficit to just a point.
“They played with energy and competitiveness,” said starter Mike Jacobson, who watched the new lineup from the bench. “They got some stops on defense, which was huge. They kept the ball alive on offense, too, with offensive rebounds and put-backs.
“They brought a ton of energy to the game.”
I sometimes have to remember that this team was supposed to include Talen Horton-Tucker. Lindell Wigginton, everyone knew, was two-and-done since the moment he stepped on campus. He even insinuated as much during his first media day as a college freshman.
But Horton-Tucker going to the NBA Draft after Year One? That wasn’t even a thought — until he starred in the Maui Invitational during his first month as a freshman.
The more he played last season, the more evident it became that he wasn’t going to see his sophomore year. So really, is it surprising the Cyclones have won just two of six Big 12 games? Take away the overtime loss at TCU, and Iowa State is about where I figured at this point.
As for tweaking the rotation, which was a topic of conversation after Saturday’s loss, don’t look for a massive change. Solomon Young’s minutes might continue to rise, and ditto with Terrence Lewis.
Freshman Tre Jackson could return against Baylor, but wearing a mask to protect the nose he broke last week against Oklahoma State. Maybe he can provide that shooting lift that’s needed from a perimeter group of players that includes Prentiss Nixon’s 23.4% 3-point percentage.
Even shooting well, however, won’t alone win games. The Cyclones aren’t always great three-point defenders, either, proven by Auburn’s 9-of-20 first half.
Look at it this way:
Iowa State’s schedule mostly softens after Wednesday’s Baylor game. Maybe that “good streak” is still out there.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.