No. 23 Iowa State grasping for rebound vs. Oklahoma State
Iowa State is ranked 23rd in the nation in the latest Associated Press Top 25, yet it is in a tie for last place in the Big 12 Conference.
The Cyclones (14-5, 2-5 Big 12) have lost five of their past seven games since opening conference play and will look to begin reversing that trend when they take on Oklahoma State on Wednesday night in Stillwater, Okla.
Izaiah Brockington led Iowa State with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but a dismal shooting performance (30.9 percent) cost the Cyclones during a 59-44 loss to TCU on Saturday.
The Cyclones committed 11 turnovers and were held to their lowest scoring output in the 50-year history of their home arena.
"That's not an acceptable effort," Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said. "Not at any point and time, based on the way we work in our program."
Brockington, Iowa State's leading scorer averaging 16.4 points per game, shot 8 for 14 from the field. But the rest of the Cyclones labored, shooting 9 for 41. Iowa State shot 3 for 26 from 3-point range, the sixth game this season it has shot below 30 percent from beyond the arc.
Otzelberger said his team has gone away from dictating the action on the offensive end over their recent poor stretch, which followed a 12-0 start. He also stressed better shot selection from his group overall.
"When you struggle to make shots from the perimeter it's going to make the challenge even greater," Otzelberger said Monday. "We've got to shoot the right shots. We have to shoot the best shots we can for our team in rhythm. And we've got to generate turnovers off our defense to alleviate some of that pressure."
The Cowboys (10-8, 3-4), despite not being postseason eligible, continue to be a challenge to top teams in the conference and have added to the Big 12's depth. Oklahoma State pushed another ranked conference opponent to the limit on Saturday before falling 56-51 to then-No. 23 Texas in Austin.
The Cowboys recorded 12 steals, led by six from Rondel Walker, which contributed to 20 turnovers by Texas. After holding Baylor to 31 percent shooting and TCU to 34.5 percent, Oklahoma State limited the Longhorns to 36.7 percent. But struggles on the offensive end kept the Cowboys from picking up another upset win.
"I'm proud of our guys for responding the right way," Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. "But you dig yourself that big a hole on the road in this league and an already difficult task becomes that much greater."
OSU erased an early 13-0 deficit against Texas. Bryce Thompson finished with a career-high 20 points, but no other Cowboys player scored more than six points in the loss.
"Obviously, from the outside looking in, it seemed like they played like their backs were against the wall," Boynton said. "And like they needed to come out like a ball of fire. They did, obviously."
Oklahoma State played without leading scorer Bryce Williams (10.6 points per game) due to a sprained ankle. It's unclear if he will return for Wednesday's game.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 24, 2022