The 20th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones used a stout defensive effort to beat Mount St. Mary’s, 73-55 at Hilton Coliseum. Usually known for their outside shooting and high-octane offense, the Cyclones struggled behind the arc for the second game in a row. Iowa State was just 4-of-16 from three just a few days removed from an 8-for-26 performance to open the season.
But head coach Steve Prohm will likely take some solace in the fact that the less-than-stellar offensive performance didn’t spill over to the other end of the court. The Cyclones held the Mountaineers to 26.4% shooting from the field while also holding a 50-38 advantage on the boards.
Mount St. Mary’s opened the game with a much different game plan than Iowa State faced in the season opener against Savannah State, where the Cyclones put up 113 points on 96 possessions. The Mountaineers routinely ran the shot clock down while rarely sending anyone to the offensive glass in an effort to slow the pace.
While Iowa State struggled to find an offensive flow early, Matt Thomas stepped up to put the Cyclones up early. The senior shooting guard scored seven of the first 12 to put Iowa State up 12-4.
The Iowa State bench added some energy and solid defensive play that led to easy baskets on a night when the Cyclones’ guards had some issues getting into the lane. Solomon Young, Darrell Bowie and Nick Weiler-Babb all had buckets to push the lead to 19-4 at the 12-minute timeout. Another 8-0 run would push the lead to 18 before heading to the locker room with a 39-22 lead.
The second half was not as smooth for the Cyclones, turning the ball over on several possessions while Mount St. Mary’s found some success from outside. The Mountaineers executed offensively and found their stroke, making four out of five from deep to cut the lead to 49-39.
That would be as close as it got as Deonte Burton led a 12-0 run to quickly bump the lead back up to 22. Burton’s aggressive rebounding and midrange game were especially strong in the second half, finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Monte Morris led the Cyclones with 18 points.
- Elijah Long may have won the battle in a game that pitted the two brothers against each other, but the elder Naz Mitrou-Long won the war. Elijah Long led Mount St. Mary’s with 19 points, but I’m sure Mitrou-Long was content to take home the team win.
- Iowa State’s guards struggled to create for their teammates against a sagging Mount St. Mary’s defense, registering just 12 assists.
- Deonte Burton responded well in the second half after a couple of defensive lapses in the first half. Burton was aggressive on the glass, snatching 13 rebounds.
- The Cyclones aren’t perfect defensively, especially against the pick and roll, but the effort is there. That’s something, I think.
- Iowa State won’t be able to survive that foul trouble in the frontcourt against tougher opponents. Merrill Holden played just nine minutes. The quick fouls could be a tad fluky, but Holden did struggle with fouling at Louisiana Tech, and Solomon Young looks likely to rack up a few every game. Darrell Bowie was solid once again with eight points and six rebounds off the bench.
- Monte Morris is still really freakin’ good. He could have scored 25+ if he wanted to.
- Nick Weiler-Babb is a steadying presence due to his ability to do a little bit of everything. Big things are coming from the sophomore.
Iowa State returns to action on Sunday against The Citadel at Hilton Coliseum.