Bouncing back: Iowa State seeks defensive fixes after lopsided loss


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Junior forward Dustin Hogue attempts a lay up during Iowa State’s 81-75 win over Oklahoma on Feb. 1 at Hilton Coliseum. Hogue finished with two points, four rebounds and four blocks.

Alex Halsted

Players sat watching film Wednesday at the Sukup Basketball Complex on the west side of Ames, and one overwhelming feeling consumed them.

Some time had passed since Iowa State’s 102-77 loss against West Virginia, but the bitter taste remained. The 25-point loss was the worst since 2011 when the Cyclones fell to Colorado by 26. The last time Iowa State had surrendered at least 100 points in regulation was 2002 when Kansas scored 102.

“It’s embarrassing,” said forward Dustin Hogue. “We’ve got a lot of fans here and a lot of people stand behind us. They tune in to watch us play and give it our all and that’s not what we did. We can’t take anymore days off.”

Iowa State did take Tuesday off as mandated by the NCAA due to travel. But Wednesday, just as they do after a victory, the Cyclones sat in front of the screen critiquing and breaking down film from Monday’s loss.

There were lapses on rotations and opposing guards getting into the lane. Missed box-outs caused trouble as did running shooters off the line. That was the start of a long list Hogue rattled off one day after the team’s film session.

“Are there more things to look at? Yes, because we lost and we want to see where we went wrong,” said forward Melvin Ejim. “It’s probably a little bit more scrutinized this time because we did lose.”

The Cyclones (18-5, 6-5 Big 12) emerged from the film room with an idea of how to take a step forward defensively as a team. Iowa State relies heavily on team defense and guarding opponents one-on-one.

One mishap, though, makes all the difference.

“All five have to be on the same page,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “When you have one guy out of position, it’s going to affect your defense. All it takes is one person out of position for them to expose you and teams have been doing that.”

Iowa State was exposed in the second half last Saturday by Texas Christian University, allowing the Big 12’s last-place team to score 47 points. That was overshadowed afterward as Ejim’s record-breaking 48-point performance stole the spotlight.

The two halves that ensued Monday night followed the same trend as West Virginia scored 52 points in one half and 50 points the next. The Mountaineers sunk 13 3-pointers and shot nearly 54 percent from the field.

“We’re going to take that anger and frustration out on somebody and Texas Tech is up next,” Hogue said. “We’re not going to take anybody for granted.”

The Cyclones defeated Texas Tech (13-11, 5-6) 73-62 in their Big 12 opener Jan. 4. The Red Raiders have taken strides since starting conference play 2-6 and enter Saturday’s game having won three-straight Big 12 games, including an 8-point victory against Oklahoma on Wednesday after leading by 20 points.

“A lot of things concern me about Texas Tech,” Hoiberg said. “It’s a team that’s clicking on all cylinders right now.”

Just as the Cyclones hope to do at 12:45 p.m. Saturday when the Red Raiders arrive at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State will move on from West Virginia and the broken-down film and make the improvements it feels it needs.

“You have a nightmare about it and then you can’t wait to get to practice to get things figured out,” said forward George Niang of the postgame reaction.

The goal is to avoid seeing on film what the team saw Wednesday.

“We’re not letting nobody score that many points on us again,” Hogue said. “We’ve got to take the initiative to become a better defensive team.”