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Peterson: Iowa State pays dearly for playing a ‘soft’ second half against second-ranked Baylor

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WACO, Texas — I don’t know how Iowa State finishes the 2020 men’s basketball season. I’m not even biting on the Will It/Will It Not Make the NCAA Tournament debate. Not going there right now. There’s still a bunch that can happen — both good and not so good.

However, I will predict that Tyrese Haliburton will not have another game like he had during Wednesday’s 68-55 loss at Baylor’s not-so-full campus Ferrell Center.

Making just 16 percent of his shots?

Not happening.

Nothing going on the pick-and-roll he usually stars in running?

Baylor hustled the ball up the court with 3 seconds until intermission. Davion Mitchell took the running shot just beyond the 3-point arc. He missed, yet was fouled by Tre Jackson.

Three successful free throws later and with .3 seconds showing on the game clock, Baylor led 30-25 at the break.

“We got beat off the dribble 70 feet from the basket,” Prohm said. “The plan was to keep the ball in front. Make him have a tough shot.

“We have to be better than that in that situation.”

Iowa State has to be better in a lot of situations for a chance to upset the Red Raiders (11-5, 2-2) this weekend in Lubbock, and it starts with sustaining toughness.

It was all Baylor in the second half — although it was about a 10-point game with 3 minutes to play.

“We didn’t compete,” Prentiss Nixon said of the mostly bad second half. “We didn’t make tough plays down the stretch. We played soft.

“Call it what you want. We played soft. We need to pick our toughness up. We didn’t compete like we know how to.”

Playing soft won’t win many Big 12 games. It’s a rough-and-tumble league, and West Virginia hasn’t even showed up on the schedule yet.

“The second half, man, we didn’t compete,” Prohm said. “If you’re going to try and beat a really good team in our league on the road — forget that we had open shots and we missed shots and all that — we’ve got to compete better on the defensive end.”

If the Cyclones are going to regroup enough to make the NCAA Tournament — or even somehow win eight or so conference games — toughness is a must; almost as much of a must as making shots.

“Throw that last play out,” Prohm said of the three free throws that ended the opening half. “Count how many opportunities we blew. We should have gone into the locker room up.

“I don’t know if that demoralizes you or not, but it shouldn’t. You’re on the road against the No. 2 team in the country, and you’re only down five?”

Make some shots, and it’s likely a different game.

“You have those (poor-shooting) days as a basketball player,” Haliburton said. “You have to move on.”

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 DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.

Source: Des Moines Register