Prohm changes things up after disastrous first half against Oklahoma

Iowa State then-junior George Conditt dunks the ball against then-No. 9 Oklahoma in a 66-56 loss Feb. 20.

Zane Douglas

After an abysmal start to the first half on Saturday against No. 9 Oklahoma, Iowa State found a lineup that started working toward the end of the half.

Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm used four of those guys for the entire second half.

Besides Solomon Young and George Conditt sharing time, Iowa State had the same four guys in the lineup for the entire second half against No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday — a second half that saw the Cyclones come back and hang with the Sooners in an eventual 66-56 loss.

“We wanted to go back with those guys so we could get off to a good start and get back in the game,” Prohm said. “Just wanted guys out there that were going to play with great great energy and purpose and I thought they did that.”

Prohm has tinkered with different lineups all year, but the last few games he’s had a consistent starting five in Young, Rasir Bolton, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Jaden Walker and Javan Johnson.

It was a different look as the second half started, with Tre Jackson and Tyler Harris taking over for Johnson and Walker and never looking back. Conditt also started the second half over Young.

Because of that, just Bolton, Coleman-Lands, Harris, Jackson, Conditt and Young saw the floor at all in the second period and that’s when Iowa State really found its groove.

The half started off as good as it possibly could for Iowa State. The Cyclones were trailing 41-25 when the final 20 minutes started, but this time, Iowa State erased the lead, going on a 21-4 run to start the half.

The run gave the Cyclones a brief lead before Oklahoma took it back and never gave it up again.

“That’s our biggest emphasis right now,” Coleman-Lands said. “Just putting together the 40 minutes and not basing that off of just making shots, but focus and effort.”

Prohm and the Cyclones have been looking for a lineup that can keep them in games consistently and the 3-point shooting and defense of the second half lineup Saturday looked like it could do just that.

This is also the second game that Iowa State has played Oklahoma close. Oklahoma often opts for small-ball lineups, and having just two bigs rotate with each other the entire half was evidence of Iowa State doing the same.

The main plus for the Cyclones in the second half though wasn’t their hot shooting to start — something that dramatically cooled off as the half wore on — but their defense which held Oklahoma to just 25 points the entire half.

Oklahoma shot just 29.6 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from 3-point range. To go along with five turnovers and getting out rebounded by an undersized Cyclone lineup, the Sooners were outplayed in the second half.

“Extremely proud of our guys’ effort in the second half,” Prohm said. “I thought those guys, those six guys played extremely hard, really competed, held [Oklahoma], really really good offensive team to 25 points.”

To really make the six man lineup effective, Iowa State needed solid post play, which it found in Conditt and Young, who combined for eight points, 10 rebounds and a block in the second half alone. Young especially got going on the offensive end, accounting for all eight of those points on 4-5 from the floor.

Prohm said he saw the second half as a positive and that he hopes he found something with the lineup that brought defensive energy and a short, but explosive, offensive spark.

He also called on starters that didn’t see any second half minutes, Walker and Johnson, to play with better energy and fill their roles better moving forward.

“Hopefully those guys can fill in those roles so we have some depth to where we don’t have to extend 20 minutes in a row there,” Prohm said.