Takeaways: Struggles continue for the Cyclones against West Virginia

Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton drives to the basket against No. 13 West Virginia on Feb. 5.

Zane Douglas

Another game, another loss.

The Cyclones were handily beaten on Wednesday by No. 13 West Virginia in another example of an Iowa State team that has looked outmatched by its competition at times.

The Mountaineers took the game 76-61 and dropped the Cyclones to 9-13 on the season with their last win coming on Jan. 21 against Oklahoma State.

It’s been a rough stretch for Iowa State, but losing to the No. 13 team in the country isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. Still, the Cyclones will need to turn it around quickly if they want to salvage the season.

Young falls apart

A bright spot for Iowa State recently has been the improved play of redshirt junior forward Solomon Young. Young started the season in the starting lineup but was replaced by sophomore forward George Conditt, with Conditt playing well.

Young has been an offensive force down low as of late, so Coach Steve Prohm decided to try him back out in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

It did not work.

Young was kept to zero points on 0-8 shooting, two rebounds, an assist and three fouls in only 20 minutes.

In relief, Conditt totaled 6 points on 2-6 shooting while also coming down with five rebounds. Conditt played all 20 minutes that Young wasn’t on the court.

This was a far cry from what Young has done recently that got him into the starting lineup. Young played well in Austin, Texas, with 13 points on 6-14 shooting, six rebounds, a block and two steals in 24 minutes.

Conditt only played five minutes in that game despite earning the start.

First half dominance

West Virginia dominated Iowa State throughout the game, but in the first half, the Mountaineers couldn’t miss.

West Virginia started the game 9-11 from the field and ended at 16-27 despite going 3-10 from three.

The Mountaineers were propelled by Emmitt Matthews. Matthews put up 12 points in the first half and also added four rebounds and an assist.

Oscar Tshiebwe tacked on 10 points of his own on 4-5 shooting and 2-2 from the free-throw line.

The Cyclones were not as shooting proficient as West Virginia in the first half.

Iowa State went 10-28 in the half and relied heavily on guards Tyrese Halliburton and Rasir Bolton, which wasn’t a first.

Haliburton and Bolton went a combined 7-12 for 17 of Iowa State’s 27 first half points.

The rest of the team went 3-16 shooting with only 10 points, led by two post fadeaway makes from forward Michael Jacobson who had four — a total he wouldn’t add to in the second half.

All of the variables added up to a 41-27 halftime deficit for the Cyclones and would make it too challenging for the Cyclones to stage a comeback.

Rebounding margin…again

It’s a broken record for Iowa State, but once again, the Cyclones lost the rebound battle by a large margin. West Virginia grabbed 46 rebounds — 18 of which were offensive boards — while Iowa State only pulled down 28 — nine of which were on the offensive end.

The Mountaineers were able to spread the wealth around in that area, with eight different players earning offensive rebounds and nine with defensive boards. Tshiebwe led the team with 10 rebounds — three being offensive — while the Cyclones leader, Jacobson, only had seven rebounds with two being on offense.

Iowa State has usually played with a size disadvantage this season, so this problem is not likely to change soon. The Cyclones will get a break in skill level as they play Kansas State on Saturday in a battle between two of the lower level teams in the conference to this point.