IOWA CITY — Those Hawkeyes were feisty. They were energized. They were talented. This wasn’t a Todd Lickliter basketball team that out-matched Iowa State by an 80-71 final Iowa City on Friday night folks.
Iowa State faced the above obstacles along with a hostile environment in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 2012’s version of the Cy-Hawk basketball game. Add 19 Cyclone turnovers, a losing battle on the boards and a Will Clyburn stat line of zero points, three rebounds and five turnovers to the equation and what do you get? Absolutely no chance to win.
"I thought they just flat out-played us," said Fred Hoiberg after the game."The big thing going in was to take care of the basketball and we ended up with 19 turnovers and to take care of the boards. They had 15 offensive rebounds. We didn’t play smart basketball."
The Cyclones only lost by nine but at times during the second half, a six point deficit felt like it should have been 15 or 20.
"Adversity hit us tonight and we did not handle it at all," said Hoiberg. "That’s what we’ve got to figure out. When tough times hit, you’ve got to find a way to get together and execute."
Player of the Game
Chris Babb – The senior was 5-of-8 from the field with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Babb was 3-of-6 from 3-point range and all three of those buckets came at critical moments for the Cyclones.
Most importantly though, Babb defended Iowa’s leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble for the majority of the game. Unlike the majority of the Hawkeyes, Marble didn’t shoot well. Marble went 2-for-10 on the night and only scored six points, eight below his season average.
Young bigs – Freshman Georges Niang scored nine of Iowa State’s first 12 points to start the game. He didn’t shoot well in the second half, but Niang’s 13 points were impressive nonetheless.
"Georges showed what he is going to be, especially in the first half," said Hoiberg. "He was awesome. He was the catalyst for us going on that run and getting the lead."
Percy Gibson put up some positive numbers too, knocking down 5-of-7 shots for 14 points and seven rebounds.
Rivalry – I obviously don’t frequent Carver-Hawkeye Arena very often but I can only imagine that Friday was as nutty as that place has been in quite some time, as it should have been. McCaffrey’s young Hawkeyes were quite the impressive bunch.
Iowa’s freshman point guard Anthony Clemmons stat line was brilliant at 14 points, eight assists and only one turnover. Mike Gesell hit some big shots late in the game. Adam Woodbury was an efficient 4-of-5 from the field. Aaron White is quietly one of the best players in the loaded Big Ten Conference.
It’s a good basketball team that played great on Friday night. Why exactly am I putting Iowa’s progress in men’s basketball in "Three Up" you ask?
Because this actually feels like a rivalry again. If you’re a sports fan in the state of Iowa, that’s a good thing.
Turnovers – I’ll let Fred Hoiberg explain…
"I don’t think we played smart basketball, and we turned the ball over too many times. We made 12 turnovers in the first half, and seven in the second half at critical times. The last five minute stretch in the first half was about the only good stretch we had. They did a good job of controlling the game. I’m surprised we only lost by nin. It should have been by more than that. We took a lot of forced shots. We didn’t get the looks we wanted."
Back to the turnovers…
The Cyclones have turned the basketball over 15 times or more in seven of nine games this season.
Rebounding – It wasn’t even the fact that Iowa State got out-rebounded for the first time this season that got this category on "Three Down." It’s the fact that Iowa’s 15 offensive rebounds led to so many easy looks. The Hawkeyes out-scored Iowa State in the paint 36-26 in the game and shot 51.5 percent from the field in the second half.
Will Clyburn – Yes. That was the same guy who dropped 32 points on BYU less than a week ago. Hoiberg called Will Clyburn’s 0-for-5, three rebound, five turnover performance a "tough night" after the game.
I get that. It happens to the best of them. Michael Jordan wasn’t perfect you know? But Clyburn looked out of sorts from the opening tip in this one.
"He just couldn’t get anything going," said Hoiberg. "He had some bad turnovers. Just put himself in tough situations I thought trying to force the issue when it wasn’t there instead of moving the ball and trusting his teammates. Will will bounce back."
Hoiberg’s analysis of the situation matched what Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said about Clyburn after the game.
"I thought Marble got into his face a little bit," said McCaffrey. "I think when you looked at talented offensive players like Clyburn or anybody that they have, if you can get them a little bit off their game early, I think it will help you in the end."