The Iowa State Cyclones
You san sum up the story of the first half by saying “foul trouble”. Cyclones with wind up with three players having 3 fouls before the halftime buzzer, as Kunc, Holmes, and Grill couldn’t stop getting whistled for fouls.
Connecticut would move the ball well, utilizing a combination of outside shooting and offensive rebounds to jump out to a 10 point halftime lead. Free throws were obviously another large source of points, as they shot 15-20 from the charity stripe in the first half. Freshman big man Donavan Clingan would especially wreak havoc when in the game.
The Cyclone scoring was paced by Osun Osunniyi, who had 11 first half points. Tamin Lipsey, out of nowhere, showed nicely with 6 points, all gotten by attacking the basket.
While the Cyclones stayed out of foul trouble in the second half, the Huskies just could not be touched, seemingly getting a bucket or huge play every time Iowa State tried to close. Halfway through the half they would cut the lead to five, only for UCONN to balloon it back up to 16.
Bill Walton, whom many don’t like, said it best: “when the Huskies need a play, they make it”.
Seemingly every lose ball, every rebound, every tipped pass, every tip out went to the opponent, especially in the second half. Iowa State got dominated on the glass, giving up 20 offensive rebounds, more rebounds than Iowa State had in total.
Offensively, Tamin Lipsey was certainly the bright spot, scoring a career high 12 points, playing lockdown defense, and bringing a calming presence to the offense. There remains much work to be done on offense, though. Shooters did not get open, easy transition attempts did not end with buckets, and the Cyclones shot themselves in the foot when they had momentum countless times.
Lots of credit, of course, goes to the Huskies, who played tremendous defense and are deep, versatile, and dangerous on offense. They’ll most certainly finish at or near the top of the Big East, and provided a good test for Iowa State.