No. 11 ISU looks to get back on track after bad loss
AMES – This hasn’t been Iowa State’s best week.
On Tuesday, five-star prep shooting guard Rashad Vaughn went on national television and announced he was spurning the Cyclones to play for UNLV. Vaughn’s announcement came less than 24 hours after No. 11 Iowa State was blown out at West Virginia 102-77.
Coach Fred Hoiberg dubbed it an “embarrassing” defeat for a team that once held Big 12 title hopes, and the Cyclones (18-6, 6-5 Big 12) will be out to redeem themselves when they host Texas Tech (13-11, 5-6) on Saturday.
Iowa State beat the Red Raiders 73-62 in its Big 12 opener last month.
“We’re going to take that anger out and the frustration out on somebody. Texas Tech is up next,” Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue said. “(Texas Tech) gave us a good game when we went down there. But we’re not letting nobody score that many points on us again.”
Both the Cyclones and Hoiberg insisted that despite a relatively thin bench and a brutal 10-game stretch to open league play, fatigue wasn’t a factor against the Mountaineers.
But their poor defense certainly was.
Iowa State let West Virginia shoot 54 percent from the floor, hit 13 3s and jump ahead by as many as 32 points.
It was continuation of a troubling recent trend for the Cyclones.
They let woeful TCU score 10 points above its league average last weekend in Ames and allowed Oklahoma State to shoot 49 percent in the previous game.
“All five have to be on the same page. When you have one guy out of position, it’s going to affect your defense,” Hoiberg said.
“All it takes is one person out of position for them to get exposed, and teams have been doing that against us.”
Iowa State’s individual defense has also struggled of late, and the Cyclones are now last in Big 12 games in scoring defense at 81.3 points.
Although that number is skewed somewhat by Iowa State’s up-tempo style of play, defense is still an area the Cyclones know they need to fix.
“I just think we’re not taking enough pride in guarding our man one on one. Like a lot of teams (we) rely a lot on help defense, and I think our guys just think ‘Ok, I’ve got a guy behind me so it’s ok if my guy just blows by me,'” Hogue said.
“That’s not taking pride in one-on-one defense, running shooters off the line and containing certain players. I think we’re going to get back to basics and start locking up our guys a lot better.”
If they don’t, Texas Tech can make Iowa State pay for its mistakes.
The Red Raiders have won their last three games after a 2-6 start in the Big 12, and on Wednesday night they won at Oklahoma 68-60.
It was one of the more surprising results in the league this season – and further proof that the Red Raiders aren’t the same team that lost to Iowa State a month ago.
“A lot of things concern me about Texas Tech right now. That was as good of a performance as I’ve seen in our league all year,” Hoiberg said.
“They’re playing harder than any team they face right now, and they rebound the basketball at a very high clip and it’s a team that’s clicking on all cylinders.”
Even though they’re not used to dealing with blowout losses, the Cyclones know they have to move on.
The first step came Wednesday with a practice that forward Georges Niang said showed the importance of playing with a purpose.
“We brought back our sense of urgency,” Niang said. “I think we’re back on the right track.”