Takeaways: Offensive success erased by Longhorn run

Then-freshman guard Tre Jackson surveys the floor against then-No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 29 at Hilton Coliseum.

Matt Belinson

Everything seemed to be clicking for Iowa State for much of its matchup against the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, holding a 31-30 lead at the break and then extending its lead to as much as eight points in the second half.

The Cyclones kept scoring, surprisingly, from three-point range, and were about to set themselves up with a bounce-back win after falling to No. 1 Baylor at home on Jan. 29. 

But the Longhorns never seemed to go away, and the Cyclones could never string together possessions to put them away, losing their third straight game.

The Longhorns’ 72-68 victory showed once again that the Cyclones have issues when it comes to overcoming runs, even on days like Saturday when offense was never really an issue.

Tre Jackson’s first career start

Steve Prohm changed up his starting lineup in a major way on Saturday, replacing Prentiss Nixon, who had started every single game for the Cyclones this season, with freshman Tre Jackson.

It would be Jackson’s first career start as a Cyclone, and he took advantage of Iowa State’s pressing need of outside shooting.

Nixon’s demotion to the bench may have come as a result of his struggles shooting from deep. The Colorado State transfer came into Saturday’s game against the Longhorns shooting 3-27 from three in Big 12 play.

Nixon’s lack of three-point shooting was more than made up for with Jackson getting the start on Saturday. Jackson hit the first three for the Cyclones and shot 2-2 from deep in the first half.

Jackson ended his day 3-5 from the floor and 3-3 from three-point range, finishing with nine points. Jackson played a season-high 40 minutes, with Tyrese Haliburton being the only other Cyclone to play the whole game.

While Jackson lit it up from distance, his first career start had some crucial mistakes that cost the Cyclones down the stretch.

After giving away a five point lead with less than four minutes left, Iowa State needed to just hold on to escape Austin, Texas, with a win. Jackson played a big role in why the Cyclones were unable to maintain its five point with his costly fouls and turnovers.

Two fouls were called on Jackson within a span of 12 seconds; the second foul gave Texas two free throws to give the Longhorns a five point lead with 17 seconds left. The offensive foul would be his fifth foul of the game, causing him to foul out.

Jackson fouled out with 17 seconds left, with three turnovers in his first career start.

Three-point turnaround

There is no area in the win-loss column for moral victories in college basketball, but in the case of how Iowa State shot from three against Texas, you could make a case that there should be.

Iowa State shot 7-12 from beyond the arc, good for a 58 percent clip, with Jackson knocking down all three of his attempts, Tyrese Haliburton hitting both of his two attempts, along with a make from Nixon and a last-second heave from Solomon Young when game was put away with one second left.

The 58 percent is something that can’t be ignored, especially with how bad Iowa State has shot from three this season.

The Cyclones had only reached a 40 percent or better three point shooting percentage three times before Sunday’s explosion.

The only other game where Iowa State hit at least 50 percent of its threes was against Alabama, when it shot 15-29 for a 51.7 clip on Nov. 28.

In Big 12 play, three-point shots have not been falling, with the highest shooting percentage from three the Cyclones had walking into Sunday was its 45.8 percent against Oklahoma State on Jan. 21.

Unable to survive runs

One of Prohm’s biggest points of emphasis for his team, win or lose, has been a lack of composure and execution during either brief or extended runs by Iowa State’s opponents.

Even when Iowa State took down Oklahoma State on Jan. 21., the Cyclones did not make it comfortable for themselves in the final three minutes. After holding as much as a 17 point lead in the second half, the Cowboys continued to go on mini runs to stay within five with less than a minute left, something that Prohm said was an issue that would need to be fixed after the win.

Safe to say, the problem has continued to haunt the Cyclones.

Against No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 29, Prohm would receive a technical foul after arguing an offensive foul on Solomon Young, giving Baylor two free throws and the ball. After the technical foul, Baylor would then go on a 17-2 run over seven minutes, completely taking the Cyclones out of the contest.

Once again, a run would be too much for the Cyclones to handle against the Longhorns, even with being up by five with 3:27 left.

Texas would go on 14-5 run from the 3:27 mark on, with Iowa State going 2-6 from the floor while the Longhorns shot 3-3 from the floor and 4-4 from the foul line.