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Iowa State fends off shaky start to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 80-63

It wasn’t pretty, but they got the W.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Even for a season opener in the times of COVID, Iowa State’s first game of the season did not start smoothly at all, falling to a quick 10-0 deficit early on. Slowly but surely, the Cyclones closed the gap in the first half through some solid play from a gaggle of newcomers, most notably Darlinstone Dubar and Jaden Walker, the former of which played 22 minutes. Arkansas-Pine Bluff took a 37-34 lead into halftime.

The second half was much better as Tyler Harris and his outside shooting helped pull the good guys in front before Jalen Coleman-Lands and the rest of the squad started heating up a bit.

Highly-touted freshman Xavier Foster also earned some playing in the middle of the second half, putting home a couple dunks and missing his only three point attempt in his 9 minutes of playing time. Expect his playing time to go up as the season goes on.

All in all, a rough start, but some signs of life for the extremely young Cyclones in their season opener, especially from the freshman class and transfers. When Tre Jackson returns in a couple weeks from a sprained knee, we can really start getting a gauge on what this team can really look like.

Next up is South Dakota State on Wednesday, December 2nd at 6:00 PM.