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Basketball

Slow start and frigid finish doom ISU in Tuesday’s 76-58 loss at Oklahoma State

Feb 9, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm reacts during the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Too many turnovers. Too many wide-open looks for Cade Cunningham and others. Too much for Iowa State to overcome in yet another Big 12 Conference loss.

 Oklahoma State built a double-digit lead midway through the first half and kept its foot on the gas in the Cyclones’ 76-58 loss Tuesday in Stillwater.

“The biggest thing is we just gave up too many easy baskets, especially early in the first half,” ISU head coach Steve Prohm said on the Cyclone Radio Network postgame show.

Jalen Coleman-Lands led ISU (2-15, 0-12) with 17 points, including 3 3-pointers. Rasir Bolton chipped in 15 points and Javan Johnson added nine as the Cyclones lost their 15th-straight regular-season conference game dating back to last season.

 One bright spot for ISU: The play of big man George Conditt IV. The 6-10 junior grabbed six rebounds and notched three blocked shots off the bench, and continues to show glimpses of his old self in terms of intensity and rim protection.

“It’s actually just a lot more confidence,” Conditt said. “I remember coach Prohm told me, ‘If you want to be a great player, you’ve got to put your time in.’ And every day, I’ve been putting time in. … Trying to be that aggressor that I was and getting confidence back into it.”

 Prohm said Conditt’s shown as much growth as anyone on the team in the past couple of weeks. 

“He’s put time in the gym, he’s stayed the course, he’s gotten better,” Prohm said. “I thought his activity and energy was really good today. He’s just got to continue to work and develop (his) post game, but he walled up, he blocked shots, he had a huge, huge rebound in front of our bench.”

 ISU guard Tre Jackson scored seven points and snared a season-high three steals in 21 minutes.

 “That’s what coach Prohm wants me to do, to be that defender and bring the energy off the bench,” Jackson said. 

 The Cyclones were able to cut the deficit to six points, at 53-47, on Bolton’s and-one with 11:43 left, but managed to make just one field goal after that — a Bolton dunk.

“Got it to six (and) just had some empty possessions,” Prohm said. “A lot of times, when we miss a layup on one end, you give up a layup on the other end. … We’ve got to sustain longer stretches of doing things the right way.”

Cunningham, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, finished with 21 points, five rebounds and seven assists to lead OSU. He scored a season-best 15 of those points before the break as the Cowboys (14-6, 7-6) completed a sweep of the season series.

 ISU shot 33 percent from the field and Oklahoma State scored 24 points off 17 turnovers. The Cowboys also outscored the Cyclones in points in the paint (44-22) and fast break points (19-4).

 ISU faces ninth-ranked Oklahoma at 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) at Hilton Coliseum.

The Sooners won the first meeting, 79-72, 10 days ago in Norman.

“(It) went down to the wire up there,” Prohm said. “We expect to play well on Saturday.”