Takeaways: Iowa State’s season ends in Big 12 Tournament first-round exit

Javan Johnson goes up to the basket in Iowa State’s 81-67 loss to Texas on March 2. 

Zane Douglas

A forgettable season for Iowa State ended Wednesday as Oklahoma handed the Cyclones a first-round exit in the Big 12 Tournament 79-73.

It was Iowa State’s 18th straight loss and the 19th loss in conference play in its last 19 tries. For Oklahoma, it got to advance to play the two-seeded Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday.

3-point woes strike early and often

Throughout the game, Iowa State had a tough day from the 3-point line and early on, the Cyclones couldn’t hit anything from downtown.

It was a 1-10 3-point start with only Tyler Harris hitting a three for Iowa State. It was really amplified by Iowa State’s main spark early on in Javan Johnson.

Johnson was leading the charge on offense for Iowa State, finishing at the rim and pulling down rebounds on both ends.

His day from the 3-point line did not start quite as efficient.

Of Johnson’s four misses on four tries, he was left wide open on two of them, one off of a screen and the other was a calculated decision by an Oklahoma defender not to close out despite having time to do so.

Johnson, Tre Jackson, Rasir Bolton and Harris combined to go 2-12 in the first half.

While 4-16 didn’t look all that bad in the first half considering some performances, the second half started just as bad.

Iowa State missed its first six 3-pointers in the second half.

Bolton turns on the second-half jets

After missing two games against Texas Tech and Kansas State, Bolton made his return to the lineup, coming off the bench for the Cyclones against the Sooners.

In nine first-half minutes, Bolton was a liability more than a solution. He went 0-4 on shots and turned the ball over three times. Iowa State only had five turnovers the whole half, but Bolton was involved in over half of them.

The Cyclone leading scorer, rebounder and assister wouldn’t find his stride until the second half, where the Cyclones were tasked with making up a large deficit, but Bolton’s second half almost gave the Cyclones an upset.

Bolton finished with 18 points on 7-13 shooting in a monster second half where he went 7-9 with no turnovers.

He led the charge down the stretch and willed the Cyclones to a two-possession game on multiple occasions.

Up-and-down second half sinks Cyclones

The first half saw Iowa State go into the break down 36-28, but the second half, specifically the middle of it, is where Oklahoma put the nail in the coffin.

The first back-and-forth half got ugly for Iowa State on Wednesday. Leading 40-32, the Sooners went on an 11-0 run aided by three Cyclone turnovers and the 19-point deficit was too much for Iowa State to make up.

Oklahoma kept something around that lead for most of the rest of the half until Iowa State showed fight toward the end, going on a 14-2 run and making it a close game down the stretch.

The comeback was led by freshman Jaden Walker, who scored six points on 3-4 shooting and added a steal, two rebounds and three assists.

It was Oklahoma leading scorer Austin Reaves who stopped the bleeding, hitting two momentum stopping shots — a three and a two.

Reaves would hit another shot a couple possessions later and it became too little too late for the Cyclones despite some big shots late.