Jan 8, 2019; Waco, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Marial Shayok (3) drives against Baylor Bears guard Matthew Mayer (24) during the first half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
I freaking hate Waco.
Iowa State men’s basketball has lost nine of its last 10 games there after Tuesday night’s 73-70 defeat via Baylor. It was an ugly game in a myriad of ways.
The No. 20 Cyclones played nowhere near the level they did in Saturday’s thrashing of Kansas. Baylor played probably one of its best games of the season, especially on the offensive end. And the officiating, well, yeah, we’ll get to that in the five points.
1 – The Officials Did Not Lose This Game For Iowa State
I want to get this point out of the way right off the bat. The officiating in this game was not what lost Iowa State the game, but it is hard to argue it had a major impact on several crucial moments.
The Cyclones turned the ball over 17 times, they allowed one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country to get 10-second chances and consistently gave the Bears’ best shooter open looks. Iowa State did not play well and truthfully did not deserve to win the game.
But, much like Iowa State’s loss in the Alamo Bowl, you can’t argue the officiating played a role. Most notably with a jump ball I’m still shaking my head about and not blowing the whistle on Iowa State’s last possession when Baylor’s Makai Mason was visibly trying to intentionally foul.
It didn’t lose the game, but it made winning the game considerably more difficult.
2 – Marial Shayok is a DUDE
The transfer from Virginia deserves more attention on the national level than he is currently getting. The Big 12’s leading scorer poured in 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting in 38 minutes and was far-and-away Iowa State’s best offensive option the entire night.
Shayok probably should have been given some more opportunities to create for himself down the stretch while the Cyclones were really out of sorts offensively. He did turn the ball over four times, but it is hard to be too upset about that with the amount of production he is giving the team.
3 – Baylor Got Hot
The Bears entered Tuesday’s game as one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country, shooting less than 30 percent behind-the-arc as a team. They knocked down 8-of-23 shots from deep on Tuesday, roughly 15 percent better than their season average.
The Cyclones gave up some open looks that simply can’t happen regardless of the opponent, especially to Mason, who is one of the team’s two best shooters. Iowa State is going to have to clean this up moving forward in Big 12 play or else there will be more teams having big nights against them from deep.
4 – Losing Lard Stings
Just when it seemed like Cameron Lard was really coming back into his own, the Cyclones’ 6-foot-9 sophomore center left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. He registered three points in seven minutes, but Iowa State sorely missed his presence in the paint, especially defensively.
We will have to hope his injury is just a sprain as the school is currently saying because if he’s out an extended period of time it will be a major hit to the team’s frontcourt depth. Solomon Young and George Conditt are both very capable behind Michael Jacobson, who had 11 points in 22 minutes against Baylor, but they don’t bring the same level of dynamic play that Lard does.
5 – Where Was Haliburton Late?
I thought it was somewhat odd Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State’s leading 3-point shooter at 48 percent, was not in the game for more than five minutes during the stretch run. The true freshman from Oshkosh had basically played himself into ‘can’t take Monte Morris off the court’ territory entering Tuesday, but then he was on the bench when the team was trying to take final control of the game.
Obviously, managing a roster as deep as Iowa State’s is difficult with the number of talented players on it. With that said, it seemed like a point in the game where the Cyclones really could have used his ability to pass the basketball and eliminate stagnation.
At the end of the day, it is always going to be hard to win on the road in the Big 12 and it was only game three in an 18-game conference schedule. I still freaking hate Waco, Texas though.