Third time not a charm for Cyclones


Coach Fred Hoiberg is the first one to leave the court after the Cyclones 73-88 loss to Kansas in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament at the Sprint Center on March 15, 2013.  “The game plan was stuff we talked about all the time with our keys, is to take care of the basketball and control the glass. We talked about that every game as being the keys to us achieving the win. And we didn’t do a good job of that. Again, 14 turnovers, only ten assists, get out-rebounded by 10, and that’s not good enough against a great team like Kansas,” Hoiberg said following the game.

Dean Berhow-Goll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the chance for “payback” — as Will Clyburn put it — against No. 7 Kansas, Iowa State laid an egg defensively. 

After watching Ben McLemore and Elijah Johnson ignite for 30-plus points in the previous two meetings, another Jayhawk tripled his scoring average in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship on Friday.

Perry Ellis, a freshman forward for the Jayhawks, came into Friday, March 15, 2013’s contest averaging five points per game. He finished the game with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting coming from four jumpers inside the arc, three layups and three dunks. 

“He got his confidence going,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “Hit a couple of jump shots, we were going to live with those, with him and Traylor and Young shooting them, but that got him going, got his confidence up.”

Kansas scored on 69.2 percent of its shots in the second half, scoring at one point on 15 of its 18 possessions. During that streak, Iowa State scored on 8-of-9, but defensively couldn’t get key stops when it mattered most. 

“They outrebounded us on the glass, and they really got a lot of those 50/50 balls,” said Melvin Ejim. “We just weren’t able to get those stops. We needed to get those rebounds and get those loose balls.”

In the second round of the Big 12 Championship, when Will Clyburn led Iowa State to a comeback victory against Oklahoma, the senior wing man played the best he’s ever seen him, as Hoiberg put it, by scoring 15 in the second half and 10-straight during Iowa State’s 25-6 run to end the game.

Against the Jayhawks, Clyburn went just 2-of-8, only making two 3-pointers with four turnovers, for a quiet eight points after scoring 16 in both previous games against Kansas during the regular season.

Rebounding and ball movement were another lacking area for Iowa State against Kansas. A stark contrast to where it won the game against Oklahoma only a day earlier by out-rebounding the Sooners by 13 points in the second half alone and converting 18 assists on 26 made baskets. 

Against Kansas’ tight perimeter defense and length, Iowa State became stagnant and only had 10 assists in the entire game on 26 made buckets.

“We had 14 turnovers and only 10 assists,” Hoiberg said. “And that shows when we have low assist numbers we just don’t have that thing moving around and flying around the perimeter like we normally do.”

Iowa State did the opposite against Kansas than it did against Oklahoma, getting off to quick start leading 12-4 to start the game after back-to-back 3-pointers from Ejim and Chris Babb. 

“Today we got off to a great start and hit a wall and had a tough time, especially in the second half,” Hoiberg said. “They scored 15 out of 18 possessions, and again they shoot 69 percent in the second half. You just can’t allow that and still have a chance to beat a great team like this.”

After the game, Hoiberg’s demeanor was somber, but focused more on his team’s last eight days and its previous three games in the Big 12. Hoiberg said he was happy with the way Iowa State helped itself solidify its NCAA tournament resume with a win against No. 13 Oklahoma State, a win on the road at West Virginia and another win against Oklahoma at the Big 12 Championship. 

Now a day off awaits Iowa State on Saturday before getting back to work on Sunday, awaiting to see which team the Cyclones will draw. Hoiberg was asked perhaps for the last time where he thinks his team stands awaiting for Selection Sunday.

“No, I think we’re in,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll regroup, go back and watch Selection Sunday and put a game plan together for our first round opponent.”