Limiting turnovers becomes focus for Cyclones


Photo courtesy of Matt Van Winkle

Senior Korie Lucious guards Kansas State player Angel Rodriguez during the 79-10 loss Feb. 9 at Bramlage Coliseum. 

Alex Halsted

Iowa State helped beat itself Saturday, now it is aiming its focus on taking care of the ball.

The Cyclones (16-7, 6-4 Big 12) turned the ball over 10 times in each half — a total of 20 — in their loss to No. 13 Kansas State on Saturday. Iowa State’s previous high for a Big 12 game was 17 in a loss against Oklahoma State and the team entered Saturday averaging 11.4 turnovers per game in league play.

Getting back to limiting turnovers has a simple route.

“Just make simple plays,” said coach Fred Hoiberg of what his team can do to limit turnovers. “When we make simple, easy plays, it generally results in not always making the shot, but it generally results in a good shot.”

In its 79-70 loss in Manhattan, Kan., Iowa State was outscored 27-13 on points off turnovers and 20-10 on second-chance points. In addition to taking care of the basketball, Hoiberg said his team must also get back to taking care of the glass.

The Cyclones did out-rebound the Wildcats by one in the loss, but guard Will Clyburn struggled. Clyburn scored only six points and had two defensive rebounds.

Clyburn had been averaging 15.2 points per game prior to Saturday, but fell nine points short of that mark and turned the ball over five times.

“I think the big thing with Will [is] he manufactures his own baskets a lot of times that really gets him going,” Hoiberg said. “He didn’t get easy baskets.”

Entering the game, Clyburn was averaging 2.27 offensive rebounds per game and had made it to the free-throw line 47 times in Big 12 play. The redshirt senior was unable to create his own opportunities against Kansas State, bringing in zero offensive boards and failing to step to the free-throw line.

The team attempted to get Clyburn involved early, but to no avail as he entered halftime scoreless.

“Anytime we see that [Will’s] not in the flow of the game or something, we try to do whatever we can to get him shots,” said ISU point guard Korie Lucious. “Saturday in the first half, it just wasn’t one of his best halves.”

As for the turnovers, the Cyclones pointed the finger back and themselves rather than anything Kansas State did specifically.

“Whenever you have that many turnovers on the road, you can’t really win that way,” Lucious said. “I think it’s just all on us making mistakes.”

Iowa State’s 70 points against Kansas State was the second-most the Wildcats had surrendered in Big 12 play, topping only the Cyclones’ 73 against them earlier this season. The only other 70-point performance against the Wildcats this season was then-No. 4 Michigan’s 71 points in November.

The 70 points Saturday came despite forfeiting 20 possessions.

“We took away 20 chances to score by turning the ball over,” Hoiberg said. “You cut that number in half — which is about what we’ve averaged in conference play — we’re a pretty tough team to stop on the offensive end.”