AMES — Iowa State’s men’s basketball team has had a roller-coaster season.
The Cyclones lost their first two games, won nine straight, lost four in a row and have now won two out of their last three.
Part of that roller coaster has been Iowa State’s lack of success on the road. The Cyclones haven’t won on the road this season.
Iowa State (11-7, 2-5 Big 12) travels to Austin, Texas, on Monday to play Texas (12-7, 3-4) at 6 p.m. (ESPNU).
“It’s about us, as coaches, prepping (Saturday) and Sunday,” Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said. “Then really be locked in and dialed into film on Sunday from 3 to 4 and really understand what it takes to win on the road. We’ve won on neutral sites, but we usually have an Iowa State contingent, we’ve won at home — some big games at home. Now, we have to grow up at some point and take the next step.”
Prohm said the key to winning on the road is controlling the paint, controlling rebounds and getting to the free-throw line.
Recently, Iowa State has made it a point to get more post touches and control the paint with forward Cameron Lard.
Over the last four games, Lard has averaged 16.5 points and 10 rebounds.
“I wouldn’t say anything is different,” Lard said. “I just give 110 percent every night. It has been clicking and my teammates found me in the right spots.”
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The reason post touches for Lard are important is because he’s efficient when he gets the ball. Over the last four games he’s shooting 66 percent from the field.
One thing Prohm wants to improve on is Iowa State’s consistency. High-percentage post touches go a long way in that.
“We have a good basketball team,” Prohm said. “Our thing is about consistency, focus, leadership and fighting through adversity.”
Point guard Nick Weiler-Babb notices the difference Lard brings when he’s on the court.
“You can see it out there,” Weiler-Babb said. “He’s our emotion; he’s the guy that gets us going. He’s one of the guys that we couldn’t do it without him. He’s out here tipping balls out after missed shots, he’s getting those 50-50 balls under the basket, he’s blocking shots and he’s finishing around the rim. That’s what we need him to do is get in there.”
While Lard gives Iowa State energy on the court, the Cyclones need to make sure to stay even-keeled through the Big 12 because it’s one of the toughest leagues in the nation.
“You can’t get too low on losses and you can’t get too high on wins,” Weiler-Babb said. “We didn’t play very well at TCU (last Wednesday) and we were upset and mad about that one that day. But the next day we had to get back in the gym and grind.”
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