Jan 22, 2018; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Mohamed Bamba (4) shoots against Iowa State Cyclones center Solomon Young (33) during the second half at the Frank Erwin Center. The Longhorns won 73-57. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
In a season full of uncertainty, it is starting to become certain Iowa State basketball will frustrate you during weeknight games. That was the case again Monday when Texas completed a season sweep of the Cyclones with a 73-57 win in Austin.
The Longhorns never trailed in the game and once again took advantage of Iowa State’s defensive weaknesses. Texas shot 44 percent from the field, knocked down eight 3-pointers on 40 percent shooting and turned the ball over only eight times.
On the flip side, Iowa State shot 39 percent, went 6-of-17 from 3-point range, turned the ball over 13 times and had only eight assists on 21 field goals. After getting back within eight with 4:10 left, the Cyclones did not score again and missed their last five shots.
Iowa State fell behind early and every time it seemed like they were battling back into the game, they could not get over the hump. Here is a look back at our three points going into tonight’s game and how they fared in Austin.
1 — Can the Cyclones get Lindell Wigginton going early?
Safe to say this one is a no considering Wigginton scored only three points on 1-of-4 shooting in the first half. There were very few openings for the freshman early on and he was barely part of the offense in the early going with the majority of things running through Cameron Lard.
Wigginton did get more involved in the second half, finishing the game with 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 3-of-8 from behind-the-arc. He also finished with four turnovers that always seemed to come at the worst possible moment.
Wigginton was definitely better than he was the last time around against the Longhorns, but he wasn’t at the level Iowa State needs him to be in order to win a game on the road in the Big 12.
2 — How has Iowa State improved defending the pick and pop?
Not enough, apparently.
The Longhorns were able to find openings with high screens the entire game with the majority of Mo Bamba’s 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting coming out of actions in which he set a ball-screen. He even stepped out behind-the-arc to knock down a pair of basically uncontested 3-pointers.
The Cyclones’ struggles in defending ball screens also allowed Dylan Osetkowski to find openings on his way to a 10 point performance, but he was not left open near as much as he was in Iowa State’s overtime loss to the Longhorns earlier this month. All in all, Iowa State was probably better in this game than that first matchup with Texas.
They weren’t good enough though as the Longhorns were still able to get too many open looks out of the action and it will surely continue to be an Achilles heel for the Cyclones moving forward.
3 — Does Cameron Lard extend his hot streak?
Iowa State’s 6-foot-9 freshman center was the driving engine of the offense in the first half as he scored 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The Cyclones were clearly making a concerted effort to get Lard going early in the game and he was not scared to go toe-to-toe with Bamba, who projects as a future NBA lottery pick.
Lard found a lot fewer openings in the second half scoring only 2 points, giving him 12 on the night, on 1-of-2 shooting. He was perhaps Iowa State’s best performer of the night with his 12 points, 12 rebounds line, but Bamba was the clear winner of the matchup this time around.
This was a frustrating game because even when the Cyclones were within single-digits, it did not feel like they were that close to threatening the Longhorns’ lead. Texas was able to land some blows early and Iowa State was not able to respond strongly enough to make a huge difference.
Now, we’ll see if the Cyclones can extend their weekend winning-streak when Tennessee visits Hilton Coliseum on Saturday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.