M BASKETBALL: Cyclones slow to recover from week in Hawaii


Shing Kai Chan

Iowa State sophomore forward Craig Brackins dunks during the game playing against Mississippi Valley State at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. Cyclones beat Delta Devils 77-59. Photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily

Michael Zogg

After the ISU men’s basketball team said “aloha” to Hawaii and their first loss of the season, they had some trouble adjusting back to basketball on the mainland.

Despite the Cyclones’ 77-59 win, they looked sluggish and out of sync, especially on offense in the first half of their game Saturday against Mississippi Valley State at Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones shot just 33.3 percent, including 28.6 percent from behind the three-point line in the first half.

Head coach Greg McDermott said he felt the team did not move the ball well enough, keeping the ball on the same side of the court during many possessions.

“We were very lethargic,” McDermott said. “I don’t know if part of that can be attributed to the trip to Hawaii and still recovering from that. I was really hard on them in practice for three days, so they were probably a little fatigued as well, but I was still just looking for a little bit more energy.”

The reason McDermott worked the team so hard in practice was they suffered their first loss on the road in heartbreaking fashion, letting a big lead slip away and losing 60-59 in Honolulu over Thanksgiving break.

“I wanted to make sure the loss hurt,” McDermott said. “I think we were disappointed in the loss on that particular night, but when you wake up the next morning and go to Waikiki Beach maybe that pain goes away a little quicker. So I wanted to remind them that the way it happened and some of the mistakes we made throughout that game were not acceptable.”

McDermott said the team seemed to get the point in practice, and they started to show it in the second half against Mississippi Valley State.

In the second half, Iowa State showed a lot more energy on both ends of the court and that energy was most evident in three thunderous dunks by sophomore forward Craig Brackins.

With the Cyclones (4-1) trailing by one point with 16:41 left in the game, and shooting an abysmal 28.6 percent from the field, Brackins let loose the first of his three dunks of the half.

The dunk sparked six straight made shots for the Cyclones during a 14-6 run that put Iowa State up for good.

“We had some open shots that we missed in the first half, and we made most of those in the second half,” McDermott said.

Brackins led the team with 20 points, and freshman guard Wes Eikmeier came off the bench to add 13, including going three for five from three-point range. Those were the only two players in double digits for the Cyclones.

The Cyclones had 11 players score at least two points however, and all 13 available players got into the game Saturday.

Iowa State also got a lot of help from its bench, which scored 39 points in the game.

“Our bench has been pretty consistent all year long, and we are going to need them to be,” McDermott said. “It’s just good that we are getting some consistent play from there. That will need to continue as we head into a little tougher portion of our schedule next week.”

The Cyclones ended the game shooting 49.1 percent from the field to Mississippi Valley State’s 38.6. Iowa State has still not allowed an opponent to shoot above 40 percent this season.

The Cyclones will play their next game Wednesday at Northern Iowa.