Feb 12, 2020; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward Victor Iwuakor (left) and Iowa State Cyclones guard Prentiss Nixon (right) battle for a loose ball before it goes out of bounds during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma won 90-61. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa State trailed Oklahoma by four points at halftime on Wednesday in Norman.
The Cyclones, playing their first game since losing star point guard Tyrese Haliburton for the year with a fractured wrist, had done just enough to keep themselves in the contest even with nine first-half turnovers primarily due to shooting 50 percent from the field.
But, it all came crashing down almost immediately after the break as Iowa State turned the ball over on its first three possessions, leading to three Sooner layups, setting the stage for what ultimately ended as a 90-69 loss.
Outside of the turnovers, the Iowa State team we saw during the first 20 minutes in Norman looked like one capable of contending in almost all of the games left on its regular-season schedule. They moved the ball effectively and knocked down open shots on offense, even freshman Caleb Grill, who hit his first 3-pointer since the first week of January during his first stretch of minutes in the first half.
As for the team in the second half… Well… Let’s just put it mildly and say with that sort of performance wins will be few and far between as the season rolls towards its close.
One bright spot of the night was Terrence Lewis, who scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and hit 3-of-5 shots from behind the 3-point line. Grill was another, finishing the game with eight points on 3-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from deep.
Solomon Young posted 12 points on 5-of-9 from the field while Prentiss Nixon added 10 points of his own on 4-of-13 shooting. I mean, I guess we could include finishing 4-of-5 from the free-throw line as a positive as well on some relative level considering the game was a 29-point loss.
This game feels like a script we will see play out multiple times over the next several weeks. Enough to hang around for 20 minutes, but not enough to keep from being blown out after halftime.
It stinks, but that might just be the reality Iowa State lives in without Haliburton.