AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team is in a self-described tailspin.
The Cyclones are 2-4 over their last six games and only have two remaining games to get it figured out before the postseason.
No. 25 Iowa State (20-9, 9-7) travels to Morgantown, W. Va., on Wednesday to play West Virginia (11-18, 3-13) is its last road game of the season at 6 p.m. (ESPNU).
“Hitting the tailspin this time of year is frustrating because you have to change it now, you don’t have time to work it out,” Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said. “This season has been good, but I want it to be great. We were on pace for great but we got hit in the mouth.
“We don’t need any drastic changes. Our attention to detail on defense has to be better. This isn’t the best time of year for this because there are a lot of implications this time of year. But you have to deal with the cards you’re dealt and that’s where we’re at right now.”
Iowa State has gone through scoring droughts over the last six games. In its last game against Texas, Iowa State had a six-minute stretch without a field goal.
Overall, Iowa State’s adjusted offense ranking is actually up to No. 9 on kenpom.com, but it’s the scoring lulls that are hurting the Cyclones most right now.
“It’s a mindset,” Prohm said of the toughness his team needs when a drought does hit. “You have to continue to fight through it — that’s the bottom line. Our offensive numbers are going to work themselves out. We score in spurts, it’s the way we play. We can get 16 points in seven minutes and we can get four or five in seven minutes.
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“The bad stretches happen usually when the spacing is bad or the ball movement is bad. When the ball is moving and guys are cutting, we’re a tough cover. That’s the reality of it. We have to do it consistently. And if we’re not making shots, we have to be locked in defensively and focused on the details.”
To make matters more difficult for the Cyclones, point guard Nick Weiler-Babb could be out Wednesday with a knee injury. Prohm said the senior is day-to-day but Prohm wants to be cautious because he recognizes there is more basketball left to play for the Cyclones who have a 20-9 overall record and 9-7 conference record.
“We were 7-3 in the league and 18-5 overall,” Prohm said. “Over the last three weeks, our offensive numbers have actually gotten better. But our defensive numbers have really dropped. We can’t let our offense dictate what we do on defense. When we do have our times of struggles on offense, we can’t let that transfer over to the defense because we will get our rhythm back at some point on offense.
“I’m excited to fight our way through this.”
Senior Marial Shayok has been through late-season pushes before at Virginia. He’s confident in Iowa State’s ability to finish the season strong.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Shayok said. “We know how talented we are. We have to stay together and come ready to play.
“We’re supposed to be playing our best basketball this time of year, and I think we will be.”
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