Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State basketball has to 'wake up defensively' against Kansas

Cyclones host Jayhawks on Wednesday

Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm talks with Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton during a game against Purdue Fort Wayne
Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm talks with Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton during a game against Purdue Fort Wayne on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. (Matthew Putney/Associated Press)

AMES — The last two Iowa State players to record a triple-double FaceTimed each other on Monday.

Denver Nuggets point guard Monte Morris got his triple-double as a Cyclone in a 130-63 win against The Citadel during the 2016-17 season. Tyrese Haliburton got his in Iowa State’s last game against TCU — an 81-79 overtime loss.

They didn’t talk about whose triple-double was more impressive — Morris accomplished it in 22 minutes while Haliburton did it against a conference opponent on the road. Instead, they talked about how to fight through and overcome adversity.

Iowa State is just 7-6 this season and on a two-game losing streak with No. 3 Kansas coming to Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ESPN+).

“I talk to the old guys all the time,” Haliburton said. “We talk all the time and we’re all trying to continue the success of this program.

“He has a lot of faith in us and myself. Being able to talk to him is always comforting because anything we’re going through or I’m going through he’s already been through before. It always helps to have a guy like that on your side.”

Morris knows a thing or two about beating Kansas — his Iowa State teams beat KU five times in his four years.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Haliburton, a sophomore, is off to a good start of his own. Last season, the Cyclones beat the Jayhawks twice.

“There’s nothing like playing Kansas in Hilton,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “We’ve had great success over the last eight years against Kansas and in 14 of the last 15 years they’ve been the best team in the league. We have to bow up on Wednesday and get it done.”

Prohm may have found something in Iowa State’s loss against TCU. He went with a four-guard lineup with George Conditt manning the middle for almost the entire second half and overtime.

The small lineup allowed Iowa State to switch guard-to-guard screens and stay in front of TCU better. Conditt also had the size and agility to keep TCU’s Kevin Samuel at bay, and offensively, Conditt was able to use his high pick-and-roll IQ to finish with a career-high 19 points.

Prohm said he’s thought about shuffling the starting lineup to get Conditt in there, but not to the point where he’s ready to pull the trigger.

Kansas, like Iowa State, starts games with two bigs but often ends up playing with four guards. The Jayhawks’ main man in the middle is Udoka Azubuike. The 7-footer is averaging 13 points and 8.8 rebounds on 80 percent shooting from the field. Conditt and Solomon Young will be tasked with containing him.

“George is a good player,” Prohm said. “We have to continue to get him better in ball-screen defense but he really understands playing in the pick and roll offensively and putting pressure on the basket. Defensively, he protects the rim.

“Against Azubuike, we don’t want George chasing shots he can’t get to because then he’s going to get beat on the backside rebound. George just has to get better at a couple nuggets. This is a game where Solomon and his physicality are going to be important. If they go big Michael (Jacobson) is going to be important. We have three frontcourt guys we can rotate.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

For Haliburton, it doesn’t matter offensively if Iowa State plays big or plays with four guards. It’s all about what’s better defensively that game for the Cyclones.

“Offensively we can handle our own — we’re a top-two scoring offense in the Big 12,” Haliburton said. “We have to wake up defensively. When we get stops, we can get out in transition and that’s when we’re at our best.

“Once we figure out the defense we’ll be really hard to stop.”

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.