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Iowa State cRooses to win over UMKC, 79-61

They didn’t really cruise until the very end.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Iowa State at Alabama Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A mostly strong showing in the Bahamas against a couple top-25 teams (including now-4th-ranked Michigan), Iowa State came back to Hilton Coliseum to face the UMKC Roos. Early on, Solomon Young and Michael Jacobson led the way with their efforts on the glass and in the low post, but defending dribble drives continued to be an issue, as UMKC kept the game close through the first ten minutes by attacking the rim off the bounce.

The half court offense was a bit discombobulated for a large part of the first half, as the Cyclones didn’t show much urgency on that end. Screens were soft, and ball handlers picked up their dribble in bad spots. Meanwhile, UMKC continued to find open shots fairly consistently, and had they knocked them down more often, the Roos could have potentially open up an early lead nearing double digits.

After tweeting this cat GIF, Iowa State turned up the intensity, and started forcing more turnovers and playing much more purposeful offense:

The last five minutes of the first half, the Cyclones turned the deficit around in transition with boom or bust defense that seemed to either force a turnover or give up an easy basket, and nothing else. Iowa State took a 37-31 lead into half that didn’t feel like anything to be proud of.

The second half started off just as poorly as the first, with the offense failing to generate many open shots, and often finding itself taking long threes at the end of the shot clock. The defense wasn’t necessarily poor, but UMKC’s Marvin Nesbitt knocked down a couple tough jumpers before putting down an alley oop to cut the Cyclone lead to three before Steve Prohm took a timeout just under the twelve-minute mark.

Iowa State continued to largely battle itself for the next few minutes, keep UMKC at roughly a five point lead. We did get to see this really nice play Tre Jackson though:

However, things improved dramatically as Rasir Bolton led a furious scoring run down the final stretch to eventually let the Cyclones pull away and finish the game with an 18 point lead.

The good guys are back in Hilton next Sunday at 8:00 for the rubber match with Seton Hall as part of the Big 12/Big East Challenge.