Offensive rebounding key for Cyclones during sluggish second half

George Conditt and Izaiah Brockington battle for a rebound against Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Dec. 1.

James Powell

AMES- It’s always something.

Something to get the offense going and spur the team on during defensive possessions for No. 19 Iowa State.

At times, it can be one individual player or a particular aspect of the team performance that sticks out.

Against Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Wednesday, the player was George Conditt and his consistent offensive rebounding. The senior post-man had five offensive rebounds, all in the first half.

The Cyclones as a team had 17, with Tristan Enaruna, Izaiah Brockington and Aljaz Kunc all contributing multiple tallies to the stat that seemed to rear its head at the perfect time all game long.

In the first half, it was mostly to the credit of Conditt, who had his best half of the year with nine points, seven rebounds and block to boot. He was the Cyclones’ only source of offense early on as a dunk-and-one got the team fired up early in the game.

“It was huge,” Brockington said in regards to Conditt’s early presence on the boards. “That really gives us momentum, it gets us fired up, and I feel like those are the plays we need him to make every game so I was really glad he did.”

Iowa State got out to a 38-22 lead going into the break, and the Golden Lions managed to put in just six of their 20 field goals through the first 20 minutes of game action.

For reference, the Cyclones got up 30 shots, and it was in large part because of the offensive rebounding prowess the team displayed.

But it didn’t stop at halftime.

Through the final half of basketball, the offense continued to sputter at times. This time, T.J. Otzelberger said, his team let it affect their defense.

“Things weren’t going exactly how we had hoped, or scripted offensively and you could sense that,” Otzelberger said when asked about slips on defense in the second half. “Our body language needs to be better and we just need to be a more stubborn, tough team on every possession and not play the scoreboard.”

The Cyclones built as much as a 28-point lead over the course of the second half, but the Golden Lions clawed their way to get the final deficit to 19 at the end of the game.

What got them that lead, in part, was the continued presence on the glass. Iowa State scored 45 points in the second half, and 10 of those came on second-chance opportunities.

While the first half was dominated largely by Conditt, the second half saw Brockington get three offensive rebounds, and Kunc grab two. In total, the team had eight in the second half.

The numbers at face value are impressive, but more often than not, the offensive rebounds led directly to a lay-up or a dunk. It wasn’t just getting extra possessions; it was getting easy buckets off said extra possessions.

And on a night where shooting and consistent offense seemed to evade the home team for much of the game, it was those easy baskets and extra attempts that allowed them to build on a 16-point halftime lead.

The Cyclones, as a team, made just seven of their 22 three-point attempts. It’s a statistic that often has not gone the way of Iowa State to start the season.

But whether it’s Brockington being a lone bright spot, or the defense carrying them through the first half, the Cyclones always seem to find a way.

Tonight, it was the big men (Brockington included) that created multiple shots per trip down the floor, and an 18-4 advantage in second-chance points allowed the Cyclones to start the season 7-0.