AMES — Steve Prohm knew Iowa State would have to play with great energy and defensive toughness in order to hang with No. 2 Baylor in Saturday’s men’s basketball game at Hilton Coliseum.
It would take a lot of growing up to take down Baylor.
The final score ended in Baylor’s favor, 76-65, but the Cyclones continued to grow.
“First off, proud of the way our guys competed. Obviously didn’t translate into a win but I thought we were continuing to grow without question,” Prohm said
Iowa State (2-5, 0-3 Big 12) did more than just hang around. Defense was the main reason why.
Rasir Bolton and his teammates brought the energy and defensive intensity in the first half against the Bears (9-0, 2-0). Baylor went into halftime up 36-32, an unusually slow start for the Bears who came in averaging 95 points a game. Iowa State held Baylor to 0-of-6 on 3-pointers. The Bears came into the game with the nation’s best team 3-point percentage (45.89). Iowa State also forced 11 first-half turnovers. Baylor came in averaging 11.5 a game.
ISU’s Javan Johnson got in some early foul trouble, but finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
Johnson said Iowa State’s growth was good to see, even in a loss.
“It just really let me know that we’re growing as a team and we are just all getting better,” Johnson said. “Just trying to progress game in and game out.”
Whether it was not biting on ball screens or taking charges, Iowa State grew in its toughness.
“We played two top-10 teams to the last media timeout, one at home, one on the road (a 70-65 loss to then-No. 8 West Virginia) and now we’ll have to go to probably a top-five team in Texas,” Prohm said.
The next game is Tuesday at No. 8 Texas. The Longhorns destroyed No. 3 Kansas, 84-59, on Saturday.
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Getting Tre Jackson back from his knee injury helped Iowa State on Saturday. He played 36 minutes, but only scored three points. Jackson is looked to for his defense.
“When I get on the court, I want to bring the energy like I did today, and it’s hard we didn’t pull out the win but I wanted to bring that energy,” Jackson said.
“That’s the thing with our team, we fight hard when we want to really and we’ve just got to want to all the time to fight hard every game and go out there and compete. That’s the main thing.”