AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team has ridden in peaks and valleys this season.
It wants to stop that roller coaster ride.
It’s exhausting and frustrating for the players and coaches.
The Cyclones got blown out by Tennessee last Saturday, 68-45. On Wednesday, they blew out No. 11 West Virginia, 93-77.
Iowa State (12-9, 3-6 Big 12) hopes to steady the course Saturday against Baylor (12-10, 2-7) in Waco, Texas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (ESPN2).
“The ‘A Team’ can be pretty good, especially when the guards are making shots,” ISU Coach Steve Prohm said. “The inconsistency is what drives you crazy, and that’s what we have to continue to fight and try and shorten that gap of the inconsistent moments.”
Prohm said he doesn’t know before games whether his “varsity” or “junior varsity” team will show up. Sometimes it switches from minute to minute — or possession to possession.
Against Tennessee, Iowa State was leading with eight minutes remaining in the first half. Then, the shots stopped falling and Iowa State completely fell off.
“The toughest thing for us is when those guys aren’t making shots, can we respond and continue to fight through it?” Prohm said. “Can we continue to get stops so we can play off of our defense?”
Iowa State forward Zoran Talley is sick and tired of the roller coaster.
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“It’s just frustrating because we got smacked by Tennessee at home, and then beating West Virginia — we know what we’re capable of doing,” he said. “Instead of doing it on a nightly basis, (our best) comes out after a loss. We have to keep growing.”
Prohm believes it comes down to fighting and not giving in.
“You’re judged by wins and losses, but we can’t let wins and losses or makes and misses define who we are,” Prohm said. “Effort and competing, that’s all you want and then you have to live with the results from that if you do all the other things right.
“We’ve had great moments and then we’ve had bad moments. There’s a couple games that we let slip away, but the games we lost, we just didn’t respond — that’s what we have to get away from. Sometimes you can hit a team, and they’re darn good that night and they were just better than you, but let that be the case before we just wither.”
Iowa State beat Baylor in the first matchup this season 75-65. Talley said the Bears will be looking for payback.
“They’re a good team, but going out there this weekend, they’re going to want revenge so we have to go out there swinging and throw the first punch,” Talley said.
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