Iowa State searches for answers after a sloppy start to Big 12 play

Graduate transfer guard Jalen Coleman-Lands attempts a shot in a game against Kansas State on Dec. 15.

Matt Belinson

Steve Prohm and his team didn’t have an answer as to why the slow and sloppy start continued for Iowa State on Tuesday night in a 74-65 loss to Kansas State.

Maybe it’s nerves, maybe it’s the pandemic cutting a crucial offseason short, perhaps it’s some injuries to key rotation pieces.

Whatever answer it is, the Cyclones now sit 1-3, 0-1 in Big 12 play, and still came out of the gates with play filled with unforced turnovers, rushed offense. 

Prohm saw lots of travels and players not being shot-ready off of drive and kicks, which led the Cyclones into 18 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half.

“I don’t know why the slow starts [are happening], I don’t,” Prohm said.

Rasir Bolton finished with 19 points, but turned the ball over seven times, too high of a number for Prohm to be happy with.

Bolton said Iowa State started with nerves, unsure of what to get going on both ends of the floor. 

So as the losses pile up for the Cyclones, Bolton said finding answers will have to be top priority for the group over the next week.

“We gotta go to the drawing board and figure it out. Maybe a lack of focus, maybe a little nerves, just trying to make plays happen early but we just gotta figure it out as a team,” Bolton said.

Bolton said each loss has been tough, but the team has to stick together to solve the problems, not change their approach or work ethic.

Adding to the puzzle Iowa State has been looking to solve is the continued struggles from three point range, with the team going 6-21 from three against the Wildcats Tuesday.

Again, it’s another area Prohm expected to be better, given the added shooters and playmakers the Cyclones brought in during the offseason. So why, through four games, is the team shooting 31 percent from deep?

Again, Iowa State isn’t sure why that is.

“I don’t understand that, I don’t. I don’t get that part,” Prohm said.

Kansas State looked ready to run away with the game at the end, but Iowa State clawed back and cut the lead to five as the second half winded down.

Foul trouble hurt the Cyclones in its comeback effort, but nevertheless, the comeback showed a different look in the Cyclones then what they were showing through the first 35 minutes of action.

Bolton had a pretty telling answer as to why Iowa State made it a close game at the tail end on Tuesday night.

“I would just say desperation,” Bolton said. “You know we were trying to win.”