Cyclones # 19 overcome slow start and rout Ark-Pine Bluff
Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger didn’t particularly like the way his team started against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and he really didn’t like the way it ended.
In between, the 19th-seeded Cyclones did enough to beat the outnumbered Golden Lions 83-64 on Wednesday night.
The Cyclones (7-0), who entered the Top 25 AP this week for the first time since February 2019, extended their best start since 2015-16 five nights after winning the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York City.
Even though his side experienced sudden success after a two-game 2020-21 season, Otzelberger said he was surprised the attention was not there against the Lions.
“I thought we had some good practices, but it did not go the way we would like tonight,” he said. “The standard we have for our defensive program is at a much higher level than allowing a team to score 42 points on our field in the second half where we committed 13 fouls and they shot 48%.”
Izaiah Brockington had 23 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, Tre Jackson scored 12 points and George Conditt added 11 points and seven rebounds for Iowa State.
The Cyclones entered the game allowing 59.8 points per game, and the opponents were shooting at 38.8% of the field. The Lions shot 40% for the game, but the baskets came in clusters and outscored ISU 26-15 in the final eight minutes.
The atmosphere in the post-match press conference was more of a loss than a 19-point victory.
âIt comes from the fact that we know we haven’t really played our best on either end,â said Brockington, âand I think we’re letting the offense take down the defense, and we just can’t. We are first and foremost a defensive team. We have to improve with our habits and be ready for the next game. “
Shawn Williams was 4 for 7 on 3 points and scored 21 points to lead Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-8). Trey Sampson scored 16 points and Kylen Milton 13 for the Lions.
The game started out as a chore. The Cyclones, who were down for a total of 10 minutes in their first six games, missed 12 of their opening 14 shots and were down early.
The Cyclones took their first lead early in a 13-0 run, when Jackson made a steal down midfield and passed to Brockington, who finished with a quick dunk. They outscored the Lions 33-13 in the final 12 minutes of the half and led 38-22 at the break.
Williams hit a pair of deep 3s to help Arkansas-Pine Bluff move up to 46-32, but Caleb Grill and Jackson hit 3s in a row and the Cyclones continued to lead up to 30 points.
Iowa State played Arkansas-Pine Bluff for a second straight year. The Cyclones beat the Lions 80-63 last season for one of their two wins.
“We didn’t play well and still got a win,” said Otzelberger. “We have to go to the training ground tomorrow and get back to our ways.”
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Lions have played eight of their first nine on the road, which isn’t unusual for a SWAC team that relies on silver games early in the season to fund their athletic program. Their eight losses are on average 22 points.
Iowa State: After the record for consecutive wins over top 25 opponents Xavier and Memphis and their first ranking in three seasons, the Cyclones may have had an emotional hangover early on. Once Brockington and Conditt got on the roll, the game was over.
State of Iowa: Creighton Tour Saturday. The Bluejays are led by former Iowa State coach Greg McDermott, who gave the current Otzelberger his first role as a Power Five conference assistant.
State of Arkansas: Reigning National Champion Baylor visits Saturday. The Lions lost 99-42 to the Bears last year.