AMES – Iowa State’s basketball players constantly looked toward the lights of Hilton Coliseum shaking their head on Monday night, hoping the answers to their woes were written on the ceiling.
Iowa State lost 74-56 to Milwaukee in the Cyclones’ home opener. Milwaukee (2-0) was picked to finish eighth in the 10-team Horizon League. It was the first loss in a home opener for the Cyclones since they lost to UNI in 1997.
The Cyclones (0-2) looked out of sorts on both ends of the court. They turned the ball over, fouled, had bad closeouts on shooters, got out-rebounded and didn’t run effective offensive sets – they didn’t look crisp in any part of the game.
Iowa State trailed by double digits for the final 11 minutes of the game.
“We’re two games into the season,” ISU Coach Steve Prohm said. “We have a lot to work on, a lot to get better with, a lot to improve on. The biggest thing now is we have to teach how to get better on a daily basis in every area. We have to demand more from everybody.”
Iowa State had more turnovers than it did field goals. The Cyclones only made five field goals in the second half and 16 field goals in the game. They turned the ball over 18 times; Nick Weiler-Babb and Donovan Jackson combined for eight field goals and nine turnovers.
Iowa State only had five assists.
“Personally, I’m not happy with our performance,” Zoran Talley said. “As a team, we set a goal for 10 or less turnovers. Tonight, we came out with 18. Those possessions, we just gave them away.”
The Cyclones only made three 3-pointers out of 15 attempts. The list of offensive struggles continues on.
But offense isn’t what Prohm wanted to talk about.
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“Everybody wants to talk offense, offense, offense, offense, offense.” Prohm said. “We need to be the toughest, nastiest, most competitive team in the country (on defense) this year. That’s what we need to be. And if we can get there, we can do good things because we need to score off of our defense. We need to play in transition and early offense. We don’t need to be a slug-it-out, grind-it-out team.
“We need to play with a chip on our shoulder, a nastiness to prove people wrong and a toughness about us that we have so much resiliency and character about us that we’re going to fight through this. That’s what we need to be about.”
How far away are the Cyclones from that?
“A good way,” Prohm said. “But that’s the fun of coaching. Because when you get there, that’s rewarding. That’s what I told the guys in the locker room, you have to trust, you have to believe.”
Prohm said he and his staff have been here before – introducing a whole new group of players. He said they just have to stay the course and block out the noise. He knows what people are going to say.
“You don’t have to check Twitter, you already know what’s on Twitter,” Prohm said. “At the end of the day, we have a long way to go and we know the road map to get there, so we’ll get there if we can get the right pieces in place.”
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