AMES — Iowa State men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm challenged his team’s toughness after its 73-69 loss to Baylor at home Tuesday.
The Cyclones go on the road to Fort Worth, Texas, to play TCU — a team that easily handled Iowa State two weeks ago in Hilton Coliseum — at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).
“I’m going to take it personal,” Prohm said. “I’m ticked off and we play better when I’m like this. We’ll be ready to roll.”
No. 20 Iowa State (19-7, 8-5 Big 12) is 14-2 when it out-rebounds its opponents and 5-5 when it doesn’t.
“If you look at all our conference numbers — throw away non-conference so nothing’s inflated — the numbers are really, really good,” Prohm said. “We’re top three or four in every category outside of rebounding and free throws attempted. Not giving up free throws is a good thing because that means we don’t foul a lot.
“Rebounding is our one Achilles heel. We don’t turn it over, we’re unselfish but we have to address rebounding right now. The great thing is, we can fix it. We just have to go to work now and over the next couple of weeks.”
Iowa State’s leading rebounder, Michael Jacobson, who averages 5.8 rebounds per game, said it needs to be a collective effort.
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“Nobody can be leaking out,” Jacobson said. “The bigs have to control the area around the hoop and the guards have to rebound down and be ready for the long ones coming off the rim.”
Prohm wants his guards to be stronger on the boards.
“I have to be tougher on them and they have to be more focused in that area,” Prohm said. “We’re small, but that shouldn’t impact how we rebound. (Baylor’s Mark) Vital was small — he’s just 6-foot-5 — but he was tough.
“The great thing about this team is we can win anywhere. We can win on the road, neutral site and at home. We just haven’t played well the last two home games, so everything is getting magnified.”
Iowa State has proven it can win anywhere, beating a then-top-10 Texas Tech team on the road. But Prohm needs to see consistent toughness on the boards for his team to take the next step.
Most competitors don’t liked to be questioned in two areas: effort and toughness. Prohm challenged his team’s toughness.
“Most winners are tough,” guard Talen Horton-Tucker said. “I want to be looked at as a winner and I know everybody in the gym wants to be looked at as a winner. Being tough is something that comes with it.”
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