Defense remains absent in Iowa State’s loss to Texas Tech

Rasir Bolton puts up a shot against Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey on Feb.22 in Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

35 points in the first half should be enough to keep a team in the game. Iowa State proved that wasn’t the case Saturday.

Iowa State didn’t shoot particularly well in the first half, but still was able to muster 35 points against Texas Tech’s stingy defense. Where the Cyclones went wrong in the loss to the Red Raiders was on the defensive end.

“Our competitive spirit on defense was the difference in the game,” said Head Coach Steve Prohm. “That’s gotta change.”

The dismal performance didn’t look any better when breaking down the numbers behind the 51 first-half points that Texas Tech earned.

Through much of the half, Texas Tech was threatening to go over 80 percent from the field, but as the half wrapped up, the Cyclones earned a couple stops and reduced the blazing hot shooting percentage to only 72 percent (18-25).

Add 62.5 percent from three (5-8) and 90.9 percent from the free-throw line (10-11) to the already staggering percentage and the Cyclones found themselves in a 16-point deficit despite 14 more first half points than their last matchup with the Red Raiders — a game they only trailed by six going into the break.

The Red Raiders cooled down and five star freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey lead the team in scoring and kept the offense rolling in the second half when the rest if the team started to falter for a couple stretches. Ramsey ended with 25 points on 11-22 shooting and 2-5 from three. He also tallied seven assists and five rebounds in 31 minutes.

The deficit grew as the game went on and the Cyclones fell to the Red Raiders in a one-sided affair.

“We gotta take these next couple days and just really focus in mentally,” said redshirt junior forward Solomon Young. “That’s what’s really holding us back.”

Frustration built up on the sidelines and on the court as the game snowballed into a 30-point loss and one of the largest losses in Iowa State history.

At the conclusion of the game, Texas Tech was outshooting the Cyclones 57.1 percent to 35.8 percent. The biggest difference in the two teams came in the paint.

Iowa State had 22 of its points in the paint while the Red Raiders totaled 46 points down low. The perimeter game in the second half wasn’t working for Texas Tech, but after going 5-8 in the first half from deep, the ending percentage of 37.5 percent was a respectable mark.

“Too many just charted mistake after mistake after mistake,” Prohm said. “That can’t happen.”

Ramsey’s second in command for the game was guard Kyler Edwards who played 35 minutes. Edwards had 19 of his own points on an efficient 7-10 shooting, five rebounds and four assists.

Edwards did a lot of his damage in the first half with 10 points on 3-4 shooting, 1-2 from three and 3-3 from the free-throw line.

“A lot of it too is just mentally being locked in on defense and knowing what we’re doing and communicating,” said redshirt senior Michael Jacobson. “I mean physically I think we have the guys that can do it.”

Prohm said before the game that the team defense needed to step up, and that sentiment was backed up by Jacobson.

The first half effort from the Cyclones was even worse than their last poor defensive half when they took on Kansas and gave up 50 points. 

Despite six first-half turnovers, the Cyclones were buried early and Iowa State couldn’t find its way back in the game.

“Today our efficiency was horrible,” Prohm said. “You’re at 1.1 [points per possession] offensive efficiency against Texas Tech in the first half and you’re down 15? That’s ridiculous.”