Takeaways: Iowa State’s blowout loss to Kansas fails to provide clarity

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon during the men’s basketball game against Kansas on Jan. 8 in Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

An explosive shooting night turned into an ugly loss quickly as the second half of Monday’s game between Iowa State and Kansas got out of hand in a hurry for the Cyclones.

Iowa State turned in 40 points in the first half and was clicking on all cylinders on the offensive side of the ball, but with an inability to get stops, the Jayhawks still led 50-40. When Iowa State’s shooting luck took a turn for the worse, the game got out of hand.

Defensive destruction

Kansas was an offensive force — especially in the first half — but part of the reason the Jayhawks were able to be so efficient on offense was due to poor defensive positioning by the Cyclones.

The charge was led by Jayhawks’ guard Devon Dotson, who has been nationally appreciated since the season began with his name being floated around as one of the possibilities for Naismith College Player of the Year.

Dotson had one of his best games in his collegiate career with 29 points on 11-14 shooting, including 6-8 from three. He added three rebounds, three steals and an assist as well.

Dotson found open looks from the three-point line as ball movement turned the Cyclone defenders around, but Kansas’ offensive rebounding prowess gave Iowa State one more thing to worry about.

Iowa State was beat on the glass by a 39-28 margin. Udoka Azubuike led the charge with four offensive rebounds and seven total rebounds in just 24 minutes.

Only senior forward Michael Jacobson was able to rebound at a high clip for the Cyclones, pulling down four offensive rebounds and eight total rebounds in 35 minutes.

Jacobson stays hot

Jacobson put forth his best performance of the season against Texas on Saturday and he followed that up with another solid performance, capped off by solid interior play and outside shooting.

Aside from the eight boards he grabbed, Jacobson carried the load down low as redshirt junior forward Solomon Young and sophomore forward George Conditt played a combined 32 minutes to Jacobson’s 35.

He made the most of those minutes with his second straight double-digit scoring game with 13 points. He was also active elsewhere as he tallied five assists and knocked down two of three shots from distance.

Conference play hasn’t been kind to Jacobson, but his 7.3 points and 5.7 rebounds are sixth and second on the team, respectively.

Threes hit a wall

The first half saw an uncharacteristic storyline from the Cyclones: Head Coach Steve Prohm’s group was on fire from downtown.

Iowa State — who after the game was ranked 217th in the nation in three-point percentage — has had a tough year from the perimeter.

That all changed Monday in the first half against Kansas as the Cyclones were scorching hot, hitting 9-12 threes in the first half.

The barrage was led by senior guard Prentiss Nixon who was 3-4, Jacobson who hit both of his two threes in the first half and freshman Tre Jackson who matched Jacobson’s 2-3 output.

Nixon in particular was a surprising change of pace as the grad transfer came into the game 8-45 (17.8 percent) from three in conference play.

The shooting would soon drop dead.

Iowa State regressed to a 2-11 pace in the second half, led again by Nixon who could only connect on 1-4 from the three-point line.

Sophomore guard Rasir Bolton, who was relatively quiet in this game, also hit on one of his four attempts from deep and the Cyclones were taken down 91-71 after a late push by the Cyclones made it look a little closer than what it was headed towards.