Cyclones drop ninth straight, 76-70 to No. 20 Missouri

Jake Lovett

Another slow start, another Big 12 loss.

Iowa State trailed by as many as 12 in the first half, climbed back to tie the game late in the second half, but still dropped its ninth-consecutive game Saturday, falling 76-70 at the hands of No. 20 Missouri at Hilton Coliseum.

“We’ve just got to start off at the beginning of the game being the one’s who’s aggressive,” said ISU guard Diante Garrett after the game. Garrett, who didn’t start for the Cyclones after being late to this morning’s team meeting, had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.

After the early deficit, Iowa State (14-13, 1-11 in Big 12) slowly clawed its way back into the game to only trail by two at halftime. The second half was more of the same, resulting in the six-point ISU loss.

The Cyclones hung tight for the entirety of the game, but never led the Tigers (20-7, 7-5).

During their nine-game losing streak, the Cyclones have been plagued by slow starts, putting the thin, young roster in a fight just to stay in games.

“Diante hit it on the head. We just came out and dug ourselves a hole,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “We just exhaust too much energy trying to climb back into games.”

The Cyclones played their second game without forward Jamie Vanderbeken, who sprained his ankle Feb. 12 at Kansas, leaving them with just a seven-man rotation.

In place of Vanderbeken in the paint were a trio of freshmen, Jordan Railey, Calvin Godfrey and Melvin Ejim.

Ejim had 11 points and seven rebounds while Godfrey had a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds. Railey was only on the court for 12 minutes, and had four points and one rebound.

“The freshmen were great,” Hoiberg said. “I’ve been really proud of how those guys have battled these last two games.”

Vanderbeken may be ready for Tuesday’s game against Texas, but his status still is uncertain.

Iowa State travels to Austin, Texas to face the No. 2 Longhorns at 7 p.m. Tuesday.