Cyclones' senior backcourt struggles in Iowa City
Clyburn held scoreless, Lucious commits seven turnovers in loss
IOWA CITY – The Iowa State starters mirrored their performance on the court in the postgame Friday. Just like in the matchup against Iowa, they were non-existent. Twenty-five minutes passed and the only Cyclone to show his face out of the locker room was reserve Georges Niang.
Five minutes later Chris Babb made an appearance, then finally Will Clyburn – Iowa State’s leading scorer.
“It’s tough to say I’ve had a rougher night than this one,” Clyburn said. “Stuff happens I guess.”
It wasn’t much, but it didn’t take much to sum up his game. He took five shots, missed all five and turned the ball over five times.
His backcourt, sidekick didn’t help him much. Korie Lucious scored 14 points with seven asssits, but shot 3 of 13 from the field and committed seven turnovers. With a backcourt performing like that, Iowa State fell 80-71.
“Being the two best players on the team and the leaders, I don’t think we could have nights like this,” said Lucious, who was the last Cyclone to exit the locker room. “It shows when we have a lot of turnovers in our games, it usually counts as the way we lose.”
The duo struggled mightily to begin the game, combining to go 0 of 9 from the field. Lucious tallied four dimes, but his assist to turnover ratio remained 1:1, with four turnovers.
Meanwhile the Hawkeyes’ freshmen backcourt outplayed the Cyclones’ senior duo.
Gessell’s line finished much like Lucious’, shooting 2 of 10 from the field, but only committed three turnovers. Anthony Clemmons, a native of Lasing Michigan, walked off the court the star from Michigan. He finished with a career high 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting to go with eight assists – equaling the points of the Michigan State transfer Lucious and making as many shots as Clyburn missed.
“I think our emotions were a little high at the beginning of the game,” Lucious said. “We were all kind of pumped for the game. We knew how big the rivalry was, I just didn’t think we kept our composure early on and it led us to turn over the ball a lot, miss a couple of shots, not play as good of defense as we wanted or get rebounds.”
Junior Melvin Ejim contributed to the starters’ struggles. The Big 12’s leading rebounder with 9.3 per game, didn’t corral a missed shot until the second shot. He fouled out of the game, totaling four rebounds.
The Iowa State starters scored 32 points, all distributed between Lucious (14), Babb (13) and Melvin (4). The other two starters -- Clyburn and Anthony Booker – did not score. The Cyclone bench shot 15 of 31 for 39 point to keep ISU close. Iowa received 58 points from its starters and 22 from its bench.
“Their whole five, whatever five they have in at the game at that time is good,” Lucious said. “We can’t really take anything away from them. They’re a good team. We just didn’t come out and execute the way we wanted to.”
Along the other side of the court, Iowa state head coach Fred Hoiberg couldn’t piece together five on the court that resulted in any production. With an eight man rotation, and its leading scorer off, it’s not an easy job.
“It was just one of those night for Will,” Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He just couldn’t get anything going. He had some bad turnovers and he put himself in some tough situations trying to force the issue when it wasn’t there.”
It’ll take a while going back in the archives to find another one of those nights for Clyburn. The last time a team held the senior scoreless, he played for Utah, when the Utes were still in the Mountain West – March 5, 2011 to be exact.
Butt didn’t take long for him to pull it up in his mental archives, pointing the game out after a quick pause. It’s also one he’d like to forget.
“Yeah, I’m going to put this game behind us,” Clyburn said. “We’ve got to learn from it and there you go.”