Peterson: Negatives abound after Iowa State’s blowout loss against No. 3 Kansas

CLOSE

AMES, Ia. — A buzzer-beating loss at TCU last Saturday.

A blowout to the tune of 79-53 at home against third-ranked Kansas on Wednesday.

Oklahoma comes to town on Saturday.

Two ranked opponents — Baylor and Texas Tech — next week on the road.

Can anyone find anything positive amid all that negative for an Iowa State basketball team that’s 7-7 overall, 0-2 in the Big 12 Conference, has lost three games in a row, and — right now, anyway — and is showing zero signs of getting better?

Heck no. There’s no silver-lining, or even manageable path to the NCAA Tournament right now for a team that’s lost three games in a row and isn’t showing a ton of improvement.

Bill Self was even amazed over what happened inside Hilton Coliseum

And to make matters worse, check out what the Jayhawks Bill Self said late Wednesday night:

“This is the only time I can ever remember we left out of here, where we weren’t sweating to the last second, or they were celebrating.”

Celebrating?

Shoot, fans started emptying Hilton with 7:48 left, the do-anything-they-wanted Jayhawks leading by 26.

It was the second-worst loss inside the building that opened 48 years ago — since losing by 29 against Kansas in 2003. It was the biggest losing deficit since coach Steve Prohm became the Cyclones’ coach before the 2015-16 season.

It was this. It was that.

It was unreal, what happened during the 28 minutes after Mike Jacobson’s mid-range jumper cut the Jayhawks’ lead to 25-23 with 8:01 left in the first half.

Social media buzzed. Self never once even became agitated. You know that grousing about having to fork over five bucks to subscribe to something called ESPN+ to watch the game?

Where’s the Hilton Magic?

The ones who didn’t – they were at least spared from watching another shake-you-head home Iowa State basketball game.

A 16-point loss at Hilton against Iowa. A two-point home loss against someone a Florida A&M outfit that came to town ranked in the 300s among college basketball teams. Kansas on Wednesday.

Wow.

“Now it’s just a character and a gut check,” Prohm said. “We’ve got to be ready to respond.”

Kansas did what Kansas does. It scored points in bunches, and before an opponent knows it, the Jayhawks have chalked up another win.

Iowa State did what it does, too, and that’s why Prohm’s team still is looking for its first Big 12 victory of the season.

CLOSE

A road heartbreaker and a home gut-punch creates quite a 1-2 sock for a team that’s already lost by 16 points at home against Iowa and by two against Florida A&M, the latter of which is one of the worst teams in the nation.

“The TCU game — that’s the killer,” Prohm said. “I was sick, because (the players) needed it. I didn’t need it. I can deal with the adversity and circumstance and all that.

“That’s part of what you sign up for. They’re 18 to 22. They deserved to win that (TCU) game. We didn’t execute at the end. The kid banks in a 3.“We needed that, because that helps you play better (Wednesday) and it helps you moving forward,

“Now it’s just a character and a gut-check. We’ve got to be ready to respond.”

Game was decided in the opening 20 minutes

The first half was what Wednesday’s game was about, inside another packed Hilton Coliseum environment in which fans had little to cheer. Magic, eh? .

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

What started as a 12-zip barrage of Kansas points midway through the first half became a 17-2 run. A close game became a blowout.

“For the first 10 to 12 minutes, we were very good offensively,” Prohm said. “Defensively? Not enough stops. It was 25-23 the last 8 minutes of the first half. (After) that is where the game was won and lost.

“We really struggled to score. We got stagnant. They physically overwhelmed us from three and in the paint the last 8 minutes. That was the difference in the game.”

So what’s the immediate future for a Cyclones team that has lost three of their past four at what used to be one of the most feared places to play in the Big Eight and the Big 12?

It’s a good question. But there’s not a lot of time for anyone to feel sorry for themselves. Oklahoma comes to town on Saturday, then it’s at the fourth-ranked Bears (and Iowa State hasn’t won in Waco since 2013) on Wednesday, then at last season’s national runner-up and 21st-ranked Texas Tech on Jan. 18.

Can it get worse for Big 12 winless Iowa State?

These guys are looking at what could be one of the roughest Big 12 starts in school history, the way things are going. Emphasis on the way things are going.

“We’re still not getting it done defensively,” senior Mike Jacobson said. “It comes down to defense. If we can’t get stops, we can’t get into transition, and that’s a huge part of our offense.”

Three-point shooting continues to be out-of-kilter, despite how much extra shooting the players do. Unless you call 8-for-28 good, that is.

Rebounding wasn’t good. Three-point defense? Horrible again, as Kansas scorched the nets 10 of 19 times from beyond the arc.

“We didn’t get a stop, and we couldn’t score,” star sophomore Tyrese Haliburton said. “That’s not a recipe for success at all.”

Big lineup. Not-so-big lineup. Not much of anything worked.

And while we’re on the subject of the Cyclones’ best player — a game after having a 22-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double at TCU on Saturday, Haliburton was scoreless during a first half Wednesday in which Kansas led 46-26. His first basket was a floater 4½ minutes into the second half.

He finished with five points, five assists and three rebounds.

“I wouldn’t say they were doing too much that bothered me,” Haliburton said. “Shots weren’t falling, and I was trying to get the ball to other guys.”

Iowa State missed 11 of its 15 3-point shots during the mostly all-Jayhawks first half. The Cyclones were outrebounded by 10 during the initial 20 minutes

And get this: Kansas missed 13 first-half shots and had seven offensive rebounds.

Game, set, next game.

Not every opponent is Kansas-like, so there’s at least that to look forward to. As for the NCAA Tournament? Reach 9-9 in the Big 12, and also win at Auburn in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 25. OK, then. Maybe.

Right now, that’s not what this season is about. Right now, it’s about fixing stuff quickly before Oklahoma gets to town this weekend.

That’s what this season has become.

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