Cyclones can’t handle Hawkeyes’ pressure in Cy-Hawk loss


Senior Tyrus McGee attempts a 3-pointer against Iowa on Friday, Dec. 7, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Cyclones lost to in-state rival Iowa 80-71.

Dean Berhow-Goll

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Will Clyburn hasn’t forgotten the last time he didn’t score. 

Just as he did against UNLV more than a year ago, Clyburn didn’t score a basket and was a non-factor against the Hawkeyes in a 80-71 loss Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye arena. Clyburn had scored a combined 61 points in his three previous games. 

“I’m just going to put this game behind us,” Clyburn said. “We just have got to learn from it.”

Clyburn missed all five of his shots from the field, only adding three rebounds, an assist and five turnovers to the box score. 

Iowa State’s biggest struggle came in handling Iowa’s ball pressure stemming from a 1-2-2 trapping press. A key focus in practice throughout the week was taking care of the basketball, but against the Hawkeyes they turned it over 19 times. 

In an area in which they had been ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, Iowa State was outrebounded for the first time this season, also giving up 15 offensive rebounds.

“I thought they just flat-out outplayed us,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg after the loss. “The big thing going in was taking care of the basketball and we have 19 turnovers and the boards where we give up 15 offensive rebounds. We just didn’t play smart basketball.”

The Cyclones’ young posts in Percy Gibson and Georges Niang again had significant playing time after Melvin Ejim and Anthony Booker were in foul trouble the entire game. Booker only played five minutes and Ejim fouled out at the end of the game. 

Niang was the main reason Iowa State was able to stay in the game early, totaling 13 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting, playing like anything but a freshmen in his first hostile environment. 

“Georges showed what he’s going to be, especially in that first half, he was awesome.” Hoiberg said of his true freshman post. “He was our catalyst during that run and getting the lead. He and Percy played very well together, they both have a good feel of the game.”

This was Iowa State’s first true road test, playing in front of a hostile crowd of more than 15,000 fans. Hoiberg, Clyburn and Lucious, each talked about handling adversity, and how they didn’t handle it how they wanted to. 

“Adversity hit us tonight, we did not handle it at all,” Hoiberg said. “That’s what we’ve got to get figured out. When tough times hit we’ve got to find a way to get together and execute and that was the disappointing thing about tonight in my opinion. We didn’t fight through the adversity like I hoped we would.”