A Big XII Conference game opened up in December on the night of the 15th with two very young teams, struggling teams. This was Kansas State’s first game on the road and only Iowa State’s fourth game overall. Kansas State came in at 2-4 and ISU at 1-2. Anybody notice the Pioneer logo on the court? Just me? Anyway, let’s get to it.
Tip off occurred shortly after 8 PM. Solomon Young dropped in the first shot of the game to give the Cyclones a 2-0 lead.The last lead was at near the 13 minute mark of the first half at 14-13. The rest the Cats lead and won one in Hilton in 2020.
First half highlights: This comes down to second chance points and free throws. The Wildcats had 11 SECOND CHANCE points whereas the Cyclones had ZIP. Offensive rebounds displayed how much more KSU just wanted it. Also to note, were turnovers. The Cyclones had 13 TO’s and Kansas State had 11 TO’s. What is key is the points off turnovers of the first half. KSU had 11 and ISU had 2. The Cyclones at one point at 3 straight turnovers. Wanna talk about killin’ a man’s mojo... WHOP! Kansas State also shot an impressive 100% from the free throw line. 10/10 to be exact. The Cyclones were 0/0. The largest lead was 2 by ISU to kick it off followed by a 14 point lead by KSU at halftime. The Cyclones looked flat with a hangover effect from scoring 77 points on Friday. Solomon Young lead the team in points with 8 with Devon Bradford equaling that on the KSU side.
Second half highlights: Out of the locker room both teams started slow. No body heat from the few fans that were there created a desolate environment. Gotta miss that Hilton Magic! It wasn’t until the Oskaloosa native, Xavier Foster, sank his first (and second) ever colligate free throws that Iowa State found a spark just before the 10 minute mark. This was followed by a trey from Foster and then there was some momentum. Luckily for K-State, the Cyclones were in a turnover and foul drought. This three deep White Claw buzz was killed with KSU taking a double digit lead. Rasir Bolton kept bringing it on the offensive side and lead both teams in scoring with 19 points. On the flip side, he also lead both teams in turnovers with seven.
Recap: What isn’t on stats is hustle. Now I’m sounding like a middle school C team coach. But that is what lacked from the Cyclones. There were several possessions where the Wildcats just simply out hustled the Cyclones. This lead to second chance points, fouls on the Cyclones, and made free throws by K-State. K-State shot an embarrassing 17.4% from 3 PT range, but too many Cyclone mistakes ultimately let the Wildcats win this one on the road. Despite the mistakes, the Cyclones kept in it. Even being down by 14, the Cyclones kept hanging in there. As a fan, there is much to look forward to with this young squad. Take away the turnovers, maybe not allow so many offensive rebounds, and we win this game. Many games to look forward to this coming season.
What’s next? Both squads have tough road games at the end of the week. The Wildcats travel to miserable Waco, Texas to take on currently ranked #2 Baylor Saturday at 3 PM. The Cyclones travel through moonshine territory to #11 West Virginia Friday at 8 PM. God speed.