Williams Blog: One amazing loss

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Let’s play a quick game here Fanatics. Act like today’s 75-72 loss to Colorado hasn’t already happened okay…Just pretend that while reading this, it is yesterday. It is Friday night and I can see the future. If I had told you last night, that Iowa State would drop these stats against the Buffs today, would you have taken it?

– Iowa State would only commit seven turnovers.

– Iowa State would outrebound Colorado 35-21, including a 17-3 advantage on the offensive glass.

– Iowa State would shoot 45 percent from the field and only commit seven turnovers.

– Marquis Gilstrap would go 10-of-16 from the field to score a career-high 26 points.

You would have been all over that right? I’d hope so.

After watching today’s loss, I can’t help by keep asking myself this question. With those very real statistics, how in the world did Iowa State lose this game?

Well for one, they didn’t defend one of the Big 12’s best guards, Cory Higgins who went 12-of-15 from the field to score 33 points. I understand when a guy like Nebraska’s Christian Standhardinger goes off for 25 on you. I don’t even have a problem with that. He’s not the focal point of your defensive scheme. That guy got hot. More times than not, he will not beat you on his own.

On the other hand, Cory Higgins is good enough to do that. He’s good enough to slay you. And he did that to Iowa State today. You simply cannot allow a guy like Higgins to have that many uncontested looks. Let the talented freshman Alec Burks beat you. Not Higgins.

To be fair, Higgins is a terrible matchup for Iowa State. But in the end, there is no excuse for him getting so many easy looks.

The last two possessions

I understand why a team would choose to take the easy bucket, down three, in their second to last possession of the game. That put the Clones down by a point with 7.8 on the clock, where you obviously foul from there. Iowa State did that. Then, the Buffs hit two free throws, extending the lead to three again.

Here is why I don’t like this scenario for this specific Iowa State team.

By doing so, you’re essentially saying that you trust Diante Garrett going the length of the floor with about five seconds on the clock to either hit a three or get the rock to somebody else for a better look. Five seconds isn’t much time people, especially against pressure.

Sure, I’m assuming that the plan was to get Christopherson, Gilstrap or Brackins a clean look. But this is Big 12 college basketball and you’re on the road. With five seconds to go, you need to put the ball in the hands of the guy who you want taking the shot. That isn’t Diante Garrett.

That’s why I wouldn’t put the pressure on DG to begin with. Instead of taking the easy bucket with 7.8 on the clock, I would have looked for the open three with a better option at that point.

I know. It is easy for me to come on here and second-guess this after the fact. But still, once again, it all comes down to quality guard play, which has haunted Iowa State all season long.

If John Wall is your point guard, take the easy two and put it on his shoulders for a last second shot. While Diante Garrett does do certain things very well, being in that position is simply not his strength.

Other tidbits

– Craig Brackins did not get to the free throw line once today.

– Chris Colvin continued to struggle from the floor, going 0-for-4 on the day. Colvin is now 26-for-91 from the field this season.

– LaRon Dendy showed more glimpses of the type of player that he could be today. Justin Hamilton picked up his second foul with more than 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Dendy stepped up to go 3-of-5 from the field to score nine points and record nine rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Once again, Hamilton was solid, when he was in the game at least. Big Ham only played 16 minutes due to those fouling issues. He was very productive during his time going 5-for-5 from the field and scoring 11 points.