Iowa State couldn’t overcome all the turnovers they committed and the size advantage Texas had after a duo of frontcourt players helped the Longhorns keep the Cyclones from ending their losing streak in Austin.
Texas forward Jonathan Holmes had a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds while center Cameron Ridley added 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds with five blocks, giving Iowa State all kinds of fits in the paint during the second half.
It was a big difference from the first half, when the Cyclones (14-3, 2-3) controlled the rebounds and enjoyed a 29-20 lead with extremely efficient shooting. The only downfall was coughing the ball up eight times in the final eight minutes, giving ISU a total of 12 turnovers in the first half – which is what they normally average per game.
Iowa State wasn’t helped with the referees slowing the game to a halt in that span, and it was even worse when everything was getting called out of the gate in the second half. Both teams were called for a total of 46 fouls (ISU had 26).
It benefited the Longhorns (14-4, 3-2), who stayed in the game by making as many 3-point shots as the Cyclones did in the first half. They only made one more in the second half, but it didn’t matter with how badly Iowa State played in the period. They clearly let the calls get to them late in the first half, and it led to all those turnovers by not moving the ball as much, going way too fast to try and create the up-tempo speed the game had earlier, and making dumb decisions and fouls.
The Cyclones’ power four all had four or more fouls. Melvin Ejim started hot early, quieted through the middle of the game, and then got going again for a last-minute effort to keep Iowa State in the game. He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, another double-double and one of the only better moments in the loss.
Georges Niang had a lot of fire throughout the game, and led the team with 18 points. His shooting has vastly improved compared to the previous two games.
Overall, shooting and rebounding were improved, but the defense remains a serious issue for Iowa State. That and their lack of size in Big 12 games is really becoming a factor; Texas had nine team blocks.
The Cyclones will have a much-needed week off before facing Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum next Saturday. Tip-off is at 12:45 PM Central time on the Big 12 Network.