AMES — For the first few minutes of its first game of the season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Iowa State played like a men’s basketball team with a lot of new faces during a pandemic that’s limited practice time.
But after trailing 12-0 early, the Cyclones got into rhythm and beat the Golden Lions 80-63.
“We needed to play, which you guys saw,” Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said. “It was a tough start and I’m happy with the way the guys responded. We finished the game 80-51.”
Iowa State was led by junior guard Rasir Bolton who had 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He added seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
Bolton was tasked as being Iowa State’s point guard with the departure of Tyrese Haliburton and the junior only had two turnovers in 34 minutes.
Prohm said in the offseason that he wanted Bolton in that three-to-one assist to turnover ratio area and that’s exactly where Bolton was against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Beyond Bolton, Iowa State trotted out seven new faces — three transfers and four freshmen.
DePaul transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands led Iowa State in scoring with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He added four rebounds, two assists and two steals to his stat line.
Memphis transfer Tyler Harris showed what he could do as a shooter, making four of his eight 3-point attempts, including four of his last six after missing his first two shots of the game. He added three rebounds and three assists to his 14 points.
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“Offensively, he made shots and that’s one of the things he can really do,” Prohm said. “We have to do a good job of getting him out in transition and putting him in a spot where he has some space.”
Troy transfer Javan Johnson started slow shooting the ball but he was able to contribute in other ways. He was just 3 of 10 from the floor but he was Iowa State’s second-leading assist man with five and he had three rebounds, a block and a steal.
As for the freshmen, all four showed flashes of their ability. Darlinstone Dubar led the way.
Dubar played 22 high-energy minutes. He had seven points and eight rebounds, including six offensive rebounds, as his effort always found him around the rim.
Xavier Foster played nine minutes and scored four points on two thunderous dunks.
Dudley Blackwell and Jaden Walker both played eight minutes. Walker made his first two field goal attempts and finished with five points and Blackwell made three free throws to finish with three points.
“Dubar was the most ready to play, right now and his minutes showed that,” Prohm said. “Dudley Blackwell had good energy, Jaden made shots at the end of the first half, which were big for us. He just has to get his nerves out and he has to not worry about making mistakes. Xavier had some juice in the last nine minutes.
“They’re all a work in progress without having scrimmages or anything so these games are important for them. It’s good to get this first game done with so these guys can go back and know they have to get better in areas A, B and C.”
Iowa State’s next game is against South Dakota State at 6 p.m. Wednesday back in Hilton Coliseum.