Feb 25, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; TCU Horned Frogs forward Jaedon LeDee (23) defends Iowa State Cyclones forward Solomon Young (33) at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Horned Frogs 65 to 59. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Prohm’s Iowa State Cyclones led by as many as 18 points during the first half of Tuesday night’s 65-59 victory over TCU.
For a while, it looked like it might turn into a game similar to that of the 29-point victory Iowa State saw against Texas a week and a half ago.
The start of the second half looked like a completely different game.
“TCU’s second half gave us some problems in execution and not being able to get it down to the post,” Prohm said. “They made some shots. They really hurt us on the glass. We put ourselves in the position to be tied going into the last timeout.”
The Horned Frogs came out in the second half firing on all cylinders.
They came out and guarded the three-point line, they made tough shots, and above all else, they demolished Iowa State with offensive rebounding.
Tre Jackson hit four three-pointer’s in the first half, but the Cyclones as a whole failed to make any in the second.
It led to a run that saw Iowa State being held to 14 points in the first 15 minutes of the final frame.
“The biggest thing (about it) was offensive rebounds,” Prohm said. “They had nine offensive rebounds in the second half. They (still) didn’t shoot at a great percentage in the second half. In those last four minutes, we were able to execute. That was big. That was really good growth for this team.”
Some of those plays down the stretch came from the likes of Caleb Grill.
The freshman – who has struggled with his offensive game this year – was able to earn a big steal and block in the final 94 seconds of the game.
“The end, when Grill got those two stops – that, that was big,” Jackson said. “The steal and the block (were) great. That turned everybody up. That helped me make those free throws.”
Grill has been a guy waiting in the wings for the Cyclones, even while playing in a majority of the recent games.
It just hasn’t shown on the stat sheet.
Much like his line on Tuesday – 0 points, 0-3 from the field, with three rebounds – Grill had to get things done through his effort when he didn’t have the ball.
“He really competed,” Prohm said. “I thought he made tough plays. I talked to him at the end (about dunking as time expired), but I thought he really competed. Those two plays were huge. Caleb, as he gets older and he gets more experienced… the offensive part will come, but you can see right now he’s got great toughness.”
Although Grill wasn’t able to light up the stat sheet, Solomon Young made up for him, especially in the first half.
Young scored nearly one-third of Iowa State’s points, leading the team with 20, and had three blocks throughout the game to get the small-but-mighty Hilton Coliseum crowd on its feet.
As Young continues to play better down the stretch this season, it seems like a hidden part of the offense is exposing itself.
“We didn’t do this as early as we maybe should have, but with (Tyrese Haliburton) going out, we really wanted to establish post play,” Prohm said. “He’s really developed his play over the years to where he really feels comfortable with his right-hand hook. He rarely (misses) free throws.”
Prohm knows now that this will be the way to go for his squad, for at least the rest of the season.
His other post players in Michael Jacobson and George Conditt combined for 12 points.
Jacobson finished with eight rebounds, and what Conditt couldn’t get on the boards, he got with his effort diving for loose balls.
“We’ve got to continue to work on different ways to get the ball in there,” Prohm said.
With another winnable game on the horizon and roster of players who look to have at least a little bit of their swagger back following the 30-point loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, this weekend’s game against Oklahoma State could be a second straight victory.
Iowa State will return to the court on Saturday when it travels to Stillwater to face the Cowboys. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.
“It was great to see our guys so excited to win,” Prohm said.