For some reason, the Iowa State men’s basketball team is unable to find an answer on the road in the Big 12. They’ve lost four of their five conference games away from Hilton Coliseum.
In a game where the Cyclones could have forced a four-way tie at the top of the Big 12, Kansas State was able to emerge with a victory and be alone at the top. Kansas now has three conference losses in a row giving the Wildcats the lone position. Oklahoma State is currently tied with the Jayhawks with a 7-3 Big 12 record; Iowa State finds themselves tied with Oklahoma and Baylor with four conference losses.
The Cyclones’ shooting, specifically shared offensive production, and turnovers were keys on the loss in Manhattan, Kansas. Melvin Ejim was able to get a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, finally getting past his foul trouble and only getting called with two personal fouls in 35 minutes of play. Korie Lucious stepped up his offense with 16 points and made 4-8 from the perimeter, but just had five assists to four turnovers. That’s not what Iowa State wants – it’s held true that when Lucious gets more players involved and improves that assist-turnover ratio, the team collectively plays better.
Players like Georges Niang and Will Clyburn suffered from the field, Niang had just nine points, four rebounds, and four fouls (although two game late in the game when it was starting to get away from the Cyclones). Clyburn made his first basket in the second half and finished with just six points, two rebounds, five turnovers, and also four fouls.
It’s not just Lucious’ fault, 20 turnovers with Ejim and Clyburn responsible for five each is nearly impossible to overcome on the road. The Cyclones barely won the rebounding battle 27-26. Compared to Iowa State’s previous two wins, the shooting percentages from the field and 3-point range were down, finishing at 49.1 percent and 44.4 percent, respectively.
The schedule gets easier with the Cyclones playing three of the four teams at the bottom of the Big 12 in the next four games, but it’s a shame the team couldn’t find a way to impress on the road in a big stage. They’ll have a few more opportunities as the final four games away from Hilton Coliseum are at Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. None of those teams are expected to be ranked, but it would be good if the Cyclones could go 3-1 or even sweep that slate.