AMES — Steve Prohm watched last season’s Cy-Hawk men’s basketball game Tuesday morning.
“We physically got whipped on both ends of the floor,” the Iowa State coach said.
This season, Prohm wants his team to demonstrate the physicality, toughness and grit the Cyclones showed in their last game against Seton Hall.
Iowa State (6-3) hosts Iowa (7-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hilton Coliseum.
“I thought the Seton Hall game was competitive as heck,” Prohm said of Iowa State’s 76-66 win Sunday. “That’s how it should be. We’re going to have to be tough minded, we’re going to have to be selfless on offense and space them out. We’re going to have to make tough plays. This is a great week. We played the preseason No. 1 team in the Big East and then you’re playing Iowa and you get to feel one of the best home-court advantages in the country.
“There will be some heated moments but we have to have great character and composure in the way we compete and the way we make tough plays. We have to stay even keeled and know there will be great emotion in the game but you have to play the next play.”
The Cyclones need to be particularly tough in the post against Hawkeyes breakout big man Luka Garza.
Garza has been a monster for Iowa this season, averaging 22.6 points and 9.8 rebounds. He dropped an eye-popping 44 points against Michigan last Friday.
The Cyclones will combat Garza’s paint presence with “strength and length.”
Strength is 6-foot-8 and 245-pound Solomon Young and length is sophomore shot-blocking sensation George Conditt, who’s 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds. Conditt is averaging 3.2 blocks per game and is tied for second in the nation in block percentage at 18 percent.
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“Solomon and George are going to guard him differently because of their size and length and their strength,” Prohm said. “You can’t let Garza catch it deep.”
Both Conditt and Young said that they felt Seton Hall prepared them well for Garza. Seton Hall has two players who are 7-foot-2 and able to take over games.
“Playing against those big 7-footers has got me used to playing against big guys who are physical,” Young said. “Garza isn’t going to be anything we haven’t already faced.”
Conditt noted while the game will be physical, Iowa State has to keep its composure.
Last season’s game got a little chippy toward the end.
“Seton Hall and Iowa are two physical teams,” Conditt said. “Both Seton Hall games were physical and the Iowa game coming up is going to be really, really physical. On that same token, we can’t let our emotions get the best of us.”
Conditt has been coming off the bench for Iowa State, but with the minutes he plays, he’s essentially a third starter with the minutes he plays.
Conditt averages 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds and Young averages 9.7 points and four rebounds.
“After the traditional rotation to start the game, everything is about feel.” Prohm said. “It’s about how we’re playing them and how they’re playing us. You saw that against Kansas City and you saw it against Seton Hall. The great thing about it is we have three guys and they’re all so different so we can do different things in different situations. “Solomon has a great task with his physicality against Garza and George has great length and size. George has been so good as a shot blocker and Solomon, defensively in the pick and roll, has been so good.
“It’s great we have them both.”
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