Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State trying to come together as a team after scuffle in practice

Cyclones host Texas Tech in regular-season finale Saturday

Iowa State players walk after a dead ball during the second half Wednesday against West Virginia at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W. Va. (Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State players walk after a dead ball during the second half Wednesday against West Virginia at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W. Va. (Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports)

AMES — Coaches can fix game-planning issues, ball-screen defense and anything Xs and Os related fairly easily.

But fixing team chemistry is a harder thing for a coach to deal with. Coaches can’t pop in tape of previous games and fix chemistry issues like they can with defensive rotations.

That’s what Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm is trying to do. The Cyclones got into a scuffle at practice on Monday. Star guard Marial Shayok got his toe caught in a doorway after things simmered down. Shayok said heated practices are common in college basketball.

They happened when he was at Virginia and ISU forward Michael Jacobson had them at Nebraska. Shayok said no one would have heard about the scuffle if he wouldn’t have sprained his toe.

Iowa State had a team meeting led by seniors Shayok and Nick Weiler-Babb to try to get things right. Prohm met with each of the players individually as well.

The Cyclones (20-10, 9-8) will put their chemistry to the test at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPNews) against No. 8 Texas Tech (25-5, 13-4) at Hilton Coliseum.

“You’re obviously not going to say you’re in a good place,” Prohm said. “You have to figure it out and heal a little bit and then start your pathway back. I hope, after (Thursday), we are back to that uphill climb. Does that mean you win? I don’t know. But like I talked with those guys about (in the individual meetings), it’s about playing the right way.

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“I rewatched our first Texas Tech game, but that (Iowa State) team is a good team — really good. We have to get back to that.”

Prohm, Shayok, Jacobson and Weiler-Babb all said the issues didn’t stem from one incident or one person.

It’s just an accumulation of frustrations from a bad three weeks that have the Cyclones on a 2-5 skid over the last seven games.

“Every team has those frustrations, especially when you lose,” Shayok said. “Frustrations were high and it was a good, physical practice and I think we needed that. There wasn’t anything that was wrong, it’s just unfortunate my toe got hurt, but that had nothing to do with it, it was just a freak accident.”

While the venting of frustrations can be good and healthy for a team, it’s not something a team necessarily wants to go through.

“We started this season so well and then no one can seem to pinpoint one thing where three weeks ago it just flipped,” Jacobson said. “No matter what’s going on, on the outside, or if someone is made and so and so, you’re not going to win with this kind of effort that we gave at West Virginia.

“Giving a crap about Iowa State and winning basketball games is the biggest thing right now.”

Prohm stressed to his players that they need to turn this around for themselves and for each other. He said one of the greatest joys you can get in life is doing something for somebody else.

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“They need to change it so they can experience some really special things this month,” Prohm said.

Shayok, the person who actually came away physically injured, seems to be the one who is most confident things will get turned around quickly.

“Losing isn’t fun, but I have no doubt we’re going to get it back together though,” Shayok said. “Spirits are pretty good within the team and I’m looking forward to (Saturday).

“We had an in-house meeting and let it be known that we’re going to finish it out the right way for each other.”

Meanwhile, the Red Raiders can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title with a win Saturday. They’re tied with Kansas State, which hosts Oklahoma on Saturday, with one game to play.

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