Cyclones fall to Golden Bears 76-73


Photo: Manfred Brugger/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s Darion “Jake” Anderson runs with the ball during the Cyclones game against California in Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, December 4, 2010. The Cyclones were up 39-38 at the half.

Jake Lovett

At the start of the second half, the Cyclones led California 39-38.

They would get just one basket in their next 11 possessions, though, leading to a 10-4 run for the Golden Bears with 14:11 left in the game.

Iowa State (6-2) couldn’t overcome the Bears (5-2) and never regained the lead, losing 76-73 Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum.

“We just have to keep it going throughout the whole game. At times I think we have a sense of slacking off,” said senior guard Jake Anderson, who finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds.

“We have to have more of a killer instinct.”

Iowa State suffered its second loss this week after falling to in-state rival Northern Iowa on Wednesday.

While the game against the Missouri Valley’s Panthers was methodical and slow, much different than the style Iowa State had featured in its first six games, Saturday’s contest with Cal was up-tempo and frenetic.

“We battled them; that’s a good team, that’s a very well-coached team, and they really get after it,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg.

Iowa State shot 26-of-63 from the floor in the loss, improving on the 33.3-percent performance on Wednesday in Cedar Falls. 

But, while the execution and effort were there for the Cyclones, the lull at the beginning of the half would be their downfall.

“It’s beyond me how you can’t come out with that killer instinct the entire game,” Hoiberg said. “You got to go out there and control it.”

Hoiberg said the team’s lapse was “disappointing,” and that the team didn’t seem to have a sense of urgency at the beginning of the game’s final period.

“We just couldn’t make the plays down the stretch to win,” he said.

Junior guard Scott Christopherson tried to shoot the Cyclones back into the game, making three 3-point baskets in the contest’s final 10 minutes, including back-to-back makes to tie the game at 69 all with 47 seconds left.

Christopherson made seven deep balls in the game, a career high, and led all scorers with 25 points.

“I think we’re doing a real good job of playing hard and bringing effort. It’s not just enough at this level to play hard. You have to play smart,” Christopherson said.

Iowa State turned the ball over 17 times, compared to just 12 assists. Guard Diante Garrett led the Cyclones in both categories, getting six assists and five turnovers, while also scoring 11 points for the Cyclones.

Defensively, Iowa State allowed Cal to shoot 48.2 percent from the floor — 41.2 percent from 3-point range — after only allowing Northern Iowa to shoot 32.7 percent.

Prior to Saturday’s games, Iowa State’s opponents had shot just 35.4 percent in its first seven games.

“I don’t think it was a step back, I just think we need to do a better job executing defensively,” Anderson said. “The energy is there, the effort is there, we just gotta keep it going throughout the game.”

Anderson and freshman Melvin Ejim each had nine rebounds, and the Cyclones improved on the defensive glass after what Hoiberg thought was a poor rebounding effort against Northern Iowa.

Hoiberg’s squad held Cal to just three offensive boards in the first half, limiting the team’s second-chance opportunities and keeping the game tight.

“It was a very physical game. I was much happier with our effort on the boards today,” Hoiberg said.

The game was physical with Iowa State’s first opponent from a “Power Six” conference — conferences that are among the BCS automatic qualifiers in football.

ISU forward Jamie Vanderbeken sat out much of the second half with four fouls and four Cyclones finished the game with three personals. The teams combined for 37 fouls and  35 turnovers.

Ejim played inside for much of the game against players with more size than him, and was scoreless from the floor until the final minute. While Ejim stands at 6 feet 6 inches, 215 pounds, Cal played four players that stood 6 feet 7 inces or taller.

“For him, going against those bigger stronger more physical players, this is the first time he’s seeing guys like that, that he’s ever played against them,” Hoiberg said. “Now he’s learning against grown men.”

Hoiberg’s jersey filled the ISU student section thanks to the popular Cyclone Alley giveaway, and the partisan crowd of 13,284 was frustrated throughout with officiating on both ends of the court.

However, the crowd’s energy pushed the Cyclones ahead late in the first half and the team seemed to feed off its energy during its comeback push late in the game.

“It was a good college basketball crowd,” said Cal coach Mike Montgomery. “All in all, this was a good win here.”