Man, this team is nails. After a 17-2 starts, St. John’s could never quite dig themselves out of that initial hole. St. John’s got punched in the mouth and really never got off the ropes. Iowa State was the more physical team, the more efficient team, and the slower team.
This game was going to be determined by the pace at which it was played, and we played it slow for forty minutes. St. John’s looked all types of uncomfortable in the half-court offense and that’s where these Cyclones forced them to play.
This was nearly as perfect as a game as you’re going to get from these Cyclones this year. On a team stocked full of seniors, the two freshmen really impressed me today.
Taimen Lipsey continues to look more and more comfortable with the speed of D1 college basketball, I hope he adapts to the Big 12 physicality just as quickly. Lipsey somehow covers the entire area of the floor at all times, jumping on loose balls, cleaning up rebounds, and pressuring passing lanes. He had two great finishes at the rim early in the second half on offense to boot. It’s impossible not to root for a guy that plays with that much heart.
Demarion Watson only finished with 5 points, but he had a great block that he pinned on the backboard. He needs to put some pounds on, and work on his interior defense, but he has the instincts, plus a nice little 15-footer on the baseline that he knocked down.
I’m going to end this with two things, Jaz Kunc, and how this team is exactly what Iowa State basketball oughta be. Jaz wasn’t second on the team in scoring, had a great sequence of a backdoor cut, and a corner 3 in the first half, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
The game is securely under control and Kunc comes flying from the 3-point line for an offensive rebound that he pins against Soriano’s leg with under three minutes to go in the game.
This team does ALL the little things. They buy in on defense, they dive after loose balls, they communicate, they execute the offense. Otz has established a culture and a level of intensity that Iowa State fans come to expect. And oh yeah, Otz moves to 19-1 in his first 20 non-conference games as head coach, or 21-2 if you want to count post-season. Incredible.
The Big 12 v. Big East ends in a 5-5 draw for the third year in a row. Iowa State is off until the 8th when it’s a CyHawk showdown in Iowa City.