Iowa State basketball: Cyclones look past Texas Tech in embarrassing defeat


In one night, the Iowa State basketball team completed what a failing college student does in one semester. They slacked off for the entire first half, tried to cram it all in the final moments, and ultimately failed in the end.

There’s certainly a lot to break down in a game that should have been a 20+ point victory for Iowa State. This won’t be trying to put Texas Tech on a pedestal and glorifying them in any way. The Red Raiders have more freshmen and sophomores than juniors and seniors. They’ve looked terrible since the Las Vegas tournament.

Texas Tech is acceptable on defense but horrible on offense. They thrive by scoring at the free throw line — that’s a serious statement. They’ve made 323 free throws and it’s accounted for over one-fourth of their offense.

That’s what makes the loss unacceptable. It’s a continuing trend for Iowa State to be damn near unbeatable at Hilton Coliseum and be as threatening as paper mache on the road. This same crap happened two years ago when the Cyclones lost a low-scoring affair in Lubbock and there was a lot of promise for a team that started 3-1 in Big 12 play.

Two years later, there was more anticipation for Iowa State with national title potential and finally defeating Kansas at home. They’ve had their best start in the Big 12 at 4-1, the fastest since the 1999-2000 season.

Now fans bury their heads in their hands or open the Gentlemen Jack without the shot glass after Iowa State clearly looked past a team that was worse than the team they lost to two years ago. It’s a tough pill to swallow for Cyclone fans. Teams that win conference titles and championships don’t cough up a game like this.

Jan 24, 2015; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Robert Turner (14) grabs a rebound against the Iowa State Cyclones in the second half at United Supermarkets Arena. Texas The Red Raiders won 78-73. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the silver lining? Iowa State almost pulled this out. It was a horrible start and like many times this season. There was a mixture of a huge lack of urgency and the opponent making all the 3-pointers in the world. Like Baylor, the Red Raiders started 8-of-15 from downtown early in the 2nd half and finished making 11-of-24.

Even worse was just three people were making them. Devaugntah Williams and Robert Turner went 3-for-6 each from downtown and Toddrick Gotcher made 5-of-9 off the bench. While they were crazy hot from downtown early, some of it can be blamed on lazy defense from Iowa State.

When Iowa State switched to a full court press with around eight minutes to go, Texas Tech’s confidence started to slip. They didn’t look good handling the press and got lucky quite a few times when they didn’t turn the ball over.

The biggest moment at the end came when Jameel McKay took an elbow from Aaron Ross. It was the definition of a flagrant-1 foul. To be fair, I personally hate the foul call because I think you should be able to clear out.

Despite the dumb rules, Ross had a careless blow to McKay’s face and it should have been foul shots and the ball. Instead, the refs still didn’t follow them and called it a common foul, meaning a turnover for Texas Tech.

There wasn’t enough time to bitch with 20 seconds to go. Iowa State clearly was going to settle for a three down 76-73, and Monte Morris eventually had a great look, but couldn’t connect. That put the Cyclones at 6-of-32 from 3-point range — a horrible 18 percent — which could explain the no good, terrible day.

Iowa State didn’t deserve to win but, crazy enough, still could have pulled it out. Great teams are able to win ugly games like this, and they could have helped themselves if they weren’t so deep in the hole early on. Perhaps they’ll be able to learn in the final two-thirds of the conference season.

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