It was bound to happen at some point and to be completely honest, the fact that Iowa State dropped their first game today in Norman shouldn't really surprise anyone. This is a venue where the Cyclones have historically had little to no success (1-9 since the Big 12 formed) and ISU had no answer for a hot-shooting Sooner squad, falling 87-82.
Iowa State played arguably their worst defensive game of the year and were just as bad on the boards. The 87 points that the Cyclones gave up is the second most they've surrendered in regulation this year and many of those came on second chance points as Oklahoma pulled down 13 offensive rebounds.
Plain and simple, this just wasn't Iowa State's day. Whether it was the road venue or the 11 AM start or whatever, it just looked like Oklahoma played harder and smarter. 13 Cyclone turnovers certainly didn't help matters either.
Iowa State will look to rebound quickly as the Cyclones return home to host Kansas on Monday night. Whether or not they'll have a healthy DeAndre Kane, we'll have to wait and see. Kane appeared to turn his ankle in the waning moments of Saturday's game and we'll do our best to keep you updated on his status going forward.
- First off, there's no need to freak out. We all knew Iowa State wasn't going to go undefeated and we knew this game was a toss up. This is by no means a bad loss and the Sooners have an excellent chance to be among the NCAA field come March.
- I mentioned how poor Iowa State's defensive effort and rebounding effort was, but credit to the Sooners. Several of you have mentioned that this OU team reminds you of last year's Iowa State team and I can see the comparison. Yes, Iowa State allowed far too many open looks, but credit to Oklahoma for knocking those shots down and taking advantage. Same thing on the glass. Iowa State had no answer for Ryan Spangler as he scored 16 points and grabbed 15 boards, 7 of which came on the offensive end. Spangler got away with a lot, but he just flat outworked Iowa State's posts.
- The officiating was a popular topic in the game thread, but I really don't think it was as bad as some made it out to be. Inconsistent and confusing at times, sure, but we've seen worse officiated games this year and on the road, it's expected that some calls won't go your way. Officiating didn't lose this game for Iowa State. Poor defensive rotations and not boxing out did.
- Individually, DeAndre Kane was frustrating to watch. On the plus side, he had 23 points and 9 rebounds, but he also had 7 turnovers and was 4-9 from the line, including a few 0-2 trips. He also did a little too much pounding of the rock and got away from being what's made him such an outstanding playmaker.
- The rest of the Core Four kept Iowa State in the game offensively as Melvin Ejim notched another 20-point game, going for 21 and 6. Georges Niang had 14 points and 6 rebounds, but picked up his 4th foul with 7 minutes and change left and had to sit out a crucial stretch of the game before returning at the 4-minute mark. With as clutch as he's been, if Niang is on the floor for that 3 minutes, does this game turn out differently? Dustin Hogue was his usual self, scoring 13 points and grabbing 5 boards.
- I mentioned in Friday's preview that Iowa State was going to need that fifth guy to step up and contribute and while Naz Long did have 9 points on 3-7 outside shooting, Monte Morris only scored 2 points and Matt Thomas put up a goose egg and never made it off the bench after about the 14-minute mark. This was not a good match up for Thomas, but he still has to give Iowa State something. The consistency of this trio (and Sherron Dorsey-Walker) is what makes me think Iowa State has to either land Rashad Vaughn or an impact transfer in the back court for next year's team to be truly special.
- Big picture, if Iowa State can beat Kansas on Monday night, they're still in excellent shape when it comes to being in contention for the league crown. Kane's status is troubling, but I fully expect this team to respond at home.