The Iowa State Cyclones kicked off their 2022-2023 season tonight against the IUPUI Jaguars. The Cyclones started off slow, however pulled away later on in the first half and cruised to a 88-39 win.
The Cyclones went with a more experienced lineup in Jaren Holmes, Caleb Grill, Aljaz Kunc, and Osun Osunniyi except for Ames native, freshman guard Tamin Lipsey.
Here are my takeaways on tonight’s game:
Need Defensive Intensity
Something I’d like to see more is better defensive intensity to start out the game. At the start, this team didn’t look like the average Coach Otzleberger “in your face” defense that Cyclone fans got so accustomed to last year. In order to get out to a better start on Sunday, the Cyclones need to do a better job at putting teams that aren’t close with them on a talent level, away sooner. Shots will fall naturally throughout the course of the game, but the defensive end needs to be high level and consistent every possession.
Holmes looks promising
St. Bonaventure Transfer Jaren Holmes had a promising Cyclone debut leading all scorers with 23 points on the night. Holmes looked a tad shaky in the first 10 minutes of the game but cleaned it up down the stretch and seemed to get more comfortable throughout the course of the game.
The shaky start is probably something that won’t be excusable down the stretch of the season, especially once they get into Big 12 play. It’s important Holmes doesn’t get used to doing so and hopefully tonight was a big confidence booster for the senior guard.
Regardless, Holmes looked like the Cyclones #1 scoring option and might be that for the remainder of the season.
Lipsey making good decisions
Despite it not being the best shooting night, Lipsey made a lot of good decisions out there conducting the Cyclones offense.
The freshman guard was held scoreless in his college debut, but finished with 5 assists and played a really controlled game today. Lipsey made the easy and right play on almost every possession. This is not always an easy thing to do for a true freshman. Lipsey shows promise replacing Junior guard Jeremiah Williams in the point guard position who is out for the season due to a ruptured achilles.
I’d like to see Lipsey be more aggressive in attacking the rim and looking for his shot more so Holmes isn’t the only scoring option.
I also do think the Cyclones can and need to shoot better from behind the arc. The Cyclones shot 31.8% from three tonight. This was an area that they really struggled from last season and think it could take this squad to the next level.
The Cyclones take on the North Carolina A&T Aggies on Sunday, November 13th at 12:00 in Hilton Coliseum.