Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State's sloppy play leads to Big-12 opening loss to Kansas State

Cyclones fall 74-65 at home

Iowa State forward Javan Johnson (13) grabs a rebound in front of Kansas State forward Carlton Linguard Jr. (12) during
Iowa State forward Javan Johnson (13) grabs a rebound in front of Kansas State forward Carlton Linguard Jr. (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

AMES — Iowa State’s Jalen Coleman-Lands was boxing out for the rebound. At the same time, his teammate Darlinstone Dubar was fighting for the rebound.

The problem was, Coleman-Lands was boxing out Dubar, who was trying to fight around him to get the rebound. The ball hit off their collective hands and went out of bounds.

There wasn’t a Kansas State player within 20 feet.

The play happened right in front of Iowa State’s bench at Hilton Coliseum and no one on the bench or the floor audibly yelled, “Same team!” which is common when two teammates are going after the same rebound.

The Wildcats scored a layup on the ensuing inbounds play after the botched rebound.

That was Iowa State’s 74-65 loss to Kansas State on Tuesday in a nutshell.

The Cyclones had 13 first-half turnovers — point guard Rasir Bolton had five. To make matters worse, Kansas State only had five first-half steals, meaning eight of Iowa State’s first-half turnovers were unforced. Iowa State trailed 40-26 at the half.

“It was a tough first half, again,” Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said. “Credit to Kansas State for coming in here ready and focused and winning the game in the first half.”

The only Iowa State player to play relatively well in the first half was Solomon Young, who had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting but even he had three turnovers in the first half.

The problem for Young was he didn’t score another point in the game. In fact, he barely touched the ball despite playing nearly the whole second half. He finished the game with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting, six rebounds and two steals.

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Bolton settled down in the second half and had two turnovers. He finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, two rebounds and seven assists.

“I thought the biggest thing that killed us was we had so many unforced turnovers,” Prohm said. “We turned it over 18 times and only had 10 assists. That was a big, big key to the game. Eighteen turnovers is just way, way too many.”

Iowa State found something from freshman big man Xavier Foster, who scored a career high 10 points on 3-for-3 shooting and made his only 3-point attempt. Foster added two rebounds, two steals and a block in his 13 minutes

“The first two games were definitely way faster than I expected,” Foster said. “This game especially started to slow down for me. I’m starting to see the pace of the offense and defense and I’m starting to understand the plays a little bit more.”

As a team, Iowa State shot just 6 of 21 from 3-point range.

The reason Iowa State (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) was able to get back in the game, cutting the Kansas State (3-4, 1-0) lead to five points in the final minutes was because it picked up its effort on the defensive end.

Kansas State went 0 for 14 from 3-point range in the second half and only made 36 percent of its field goals.

“Desperation,” Bolton said of Iowa State’s improved play down the stretch. “We were trying to win.”

The Wildcats were led by DeJaun Gordon’s 15 points. Davion Bradford also had 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting to aid the Wildcats.

Iowa State’s next game is Friday at No. 8 West Virginia (6-1). Tipoff is 8 p.m. (ESPNU).

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