It was deja vu all over again.
Like in Monday night’s overtime loss to Texas, Iowa State (9-5, 0-3 Big 12) had plenty of opportunities to put Oklahoma State away Saturday afternoon in Stillwater.
The Cyclones led by eight with 3:32 to play in regulation and jumped out to a quick four-point lead to begin overtime. After a Nick Weiler-Babb turnover turned into an and-one layup at the other end, the Cowboys were able to take control and, ultimately, their first Big 12 win of the season 96-87 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
It was Iowa State’s first loss to Oklahoma State since 2013.
Here are three points on Iowa State’s loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
1 — Donovan Jackson was hotter than fish grease — but basically absent in overtime.
Iowa State’s senior leader scored a career-high 30-points and knocked down all six of the team’s 3-pointers Saturday afternoon. He was far-and-away the best player on the court for stretches of the game but was essentially non-existent for others.
That includes the overtime period in which he didn’t attempt his first field goal until there were 19 seconds left and the game was already decided. He made zero impact in the extra five minutes outside of a pair of free throws near the halfway point.
When Jackson is as hot as he was on Saturday, Iowa State has to figure out a way to keep him involved in the offense. You can’t have one of your best players knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers on multiple occasions then completely disappearing for five minutes.
His 17 point first-half performance was as good as we have seen Jackson play so far this season. The question moving forward is what does it take to get him to extend that play over a full 40?
2 — Iowa State’s half-court defense was improved compared to the first two Big 12 games.
The Cyclones needed to turn Oklahoma State into a jump-shooting team and they were able to do just that for the most part in the half-court. The Cowboys shot 46 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep, which is right in line with their season percentage as a team.
You have to feel a lot better about that as an Iowa State fan when you consider what Kansas State and Texas were able to do to the Cyclones’ defense.
In the end, the Cowboys were timely with some of the jump-shots they knocked down, including Jeffery Carroll’s 3-pointer with a hand in his face at the 1:55 mark of overtime.
Iowa State did not have that same level of timely shot-making. For example, after Oklahoma State took an 89-87 lead with 1:25 left in overtime, Zoran Talley had a wide-open 3-pointer on the wing that rimmed off. Justin McGriff added a layup on the next possession to push the Cowboys’ lead to four then Hans Brase air-balled a shot from the top of the key.
That was the game right there.
Oklahoma State took advantage of the opportunities given to them and Iowa State did not. The Cyclones had every opening to take control and win, but when you can’t capitalize on chances given to you, especially in this league, it just won’t happen.
3 — The peaks were really good, but the valleys were really bad.
One of Steve Prohm’s favorite sayings is that you can’t allow yourself to live in the peaks and valleys. On Saturday when Iowa State was playing at its peak, it was really, really good, as showed by the 17-2 run to close out the first half.
When they were in their valleys…. Woof. The Cyclones had zero field goals in the last 3:50 of overtime and went 0-of-6 to end the game. They didn’t reach double-digit points until there were nine minutes left in the first half.
Finding a way to make those peaks or frequent, or at least bringing the valleys closer to the peak, is going to be really important for Iowa State if they’re going to find any level of success in the Big 12 in 2018. You just can’t be this Jekyll and Hyde night-in and night-out and expect to compete.
Especially in a place like Allen Fieldhouse, where the Cyclones just so happen to be headed Tuesday night for an 8 p.m. tip.