Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State men's basketball focusing on defensive fundamentals

Cyclones gave up 51 first-half points to Texas Tech in 30-point loss Saturday

Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm watches from the bench during the second half of Saturday's game against Texas Tech at
Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm watches from the bench during the second half of Saturday's game against Texas Tech at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

AMES — Iowa State is going back to the basics for the remainder of the season.

Men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm is going to focus on the fundamentals of defense for the remaining two weeks of the regular season — starting with Monday’s practice before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. game against TCU (15-12, 6-8) at Hilton Coliseum (ESPNU).

“Today’s practice will be kind of like a preseason practice — we’re not going to be out there for 2 1/2 hours like we would in the preseason but we’ll be out there for an hour,” Prohm said. “We’re going back to the groundwork and foundation of building defensive fundamentals.

“We’re going to change practice formats for the rest of the year to try to reestablish our defensive foundation.”

Prohm’s not sure how much of an effect it’ll have on the rest of this season, but he’s hoping it jumpstarts the team into the offseason and into the next season.

“We’re really going to focus on technique and really focus on our effort and the way we compete and not get so caught up in the opponent,” Prohm said. “We’ll still go through all their stuff, obviously but we’re going to focus on what we need to do to get better.”

The Cyclones are coming off an 87-57 loss to Texas Tech in which they allowed the Red Raiders to score 51 points while shooting 72 percent from the field in the first half.

While Prohm has shouldered the blame for the poor defensive effort, big man George Conditt doesn’t think he should be.

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“It’s always on us,” Conditt said. “It’s not on him. We can’t keep allowing him to take the blame for everything. It’s on the players. The players have to step up and have to actually want to do things.”

Prohm is willing to try anything for Iowa State to regain its toughness.

“We have to figure out ways to get our mental and physical toughness back,” Prohm said. “We showed 16 poor defensive clips and it was just mistake after mistake after mistake. They were just simple things that led to so many easy baskets.

“We have to have attention to detail, we have to compete the right way because this is a stretch of games where we can put a good string together if we play the right way. If we get down eight, we have to be able to fight back.”

Three out of the next four games for Iowa State are against teams in the bottom half of the conference.

“Our goal in the back nine was to have a winning record,” Prohm said (Iowa State is currently 2-3 since the second half of Big 12 play started). “And then I’ll also talk to them about, ‘Man, let’s just let it rip. Let’s just be a heck of a lot more aggressive — we have nothing to lose. Be free and play the right way.’ Hopefully we can do that.”

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