A match-up between one of the nation’s best teams at turning opponents over and one of the nation’s best teams at taking care of the ball started ominously with an uncharacteristic Monte Morris turnover. The Mountaineers would continue to supply the pressure and jump out to an early 12 point lead en route to an 85-72 victory over Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones didn’t fold in the first half, and fought all the way back to tie the game up several times before walking into the locker room down four points after three, I repeat THREE banked in shots from behind the arc by the Mountaineers. Matt Thomas continued his recent hot shooting in the first half to lead all scorers in the opening frame with 13 points.
At halftime, Thomas suited up as a civilian and hit five 3-pointers in 35 seconds to win a riding lawnmower.
...Okay, maybe it was actually this guy. Here is some more fame, guy.
Unfortunately, that was one of the few remaining bright spots in Hilton Coliseum for the evening.
The Cyclones couldn’t capitalize early in the second half as both teams went scoreless for over two minutes. The Mountaineers started to heat up, while the Cyclones remained cold. After being seemingly one big basket away from a run, ISU fell victim to a 11-2 run at the hands of West Virginia. Bob Huggins’ squad would stretch the lead to 70-55 and it wouldn’t get closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Coming into the game, the Cyclones wanted to focus on keeping West Virginia off the offensive glass and taking care of the basketball. Iowa State recorded just as many offensive rebounds as the Mountaineers (12) and committed only one more turnover than West Virginia.
The difference in this game came down to finishing at the rim, as the Cyclones finished a paltry 13-32 inside the arc while the Mountaineers connected on six more 2-point attempts than the Cyclones.
Nathan Adrian led all players with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 1 headband. Matt Thomas paced the Cyclones with 19 points. Although Monte Morris didn’t turn the ball over after the opening possession, he didn’t play a particularly great game. He would finish with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
The loss is already the third of the season at home for Iowa State. It doesn’t get any easier for Steve Prohm’s squad this week as they travel to Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday to take on the Kansas Jayhawks at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.