Takeaways: Iowa State still searching for 40 complete minutes

George Conditt IV practices layups following the 66-56 loss to the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners. Conditt came away with eight rebounds and four points.

Matt Belinson

It was more of the same for Iowa State in a 66-56 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday: Another loss to add to the unsavory pile of mounting Big 12 defeats, trouble on the glass, foul issues and unsustained momentum.

While each of those issues stand out in the final box score in the Cyclones’ 13th straight conference loss Saturday, it was clear from players and from Head Coach Steve Prohm postgame that none of those issues will be fixed until Iowa State can put together 40 complete minutes.

Working to play a complete game

The Cyclones are 18 games into their season (2-16 overall, 0-13 Big 12) and are still trying to put together a complete game.

“We’re still trying to put together 40 minutes, that’s our emphasis from this point on,” Jalen Coleman-Lands said Saturday.

The senior guard transfer from DePaul said the Cyclones have to stop shooting themselves in their own foot, whether they have a brief lead or find themselves down 10.

It’s all about controlling what you can control, but Coleman-Lands said when Iowa State is lackluster on its defensive effort and commits bad fouls like it did against the Sooners, it can’t be surprised when it becomes too little too late by the end of games.

“Our biggest emphasis right now is putting together 40 minutes and not basing that off of just making shots, but focus and effort and I think that’s the biggest difference right now,” Coleman-Lands said.

For Prohm, the lingering problem of not finishing halves or scoring runs has bugged Iowa State all season. 

The Cyclones have shown in stretches they can hang with and compete with some of the Big 12’s best. But competing doesn’t count the same as wins.

So where has the Iowa State team that held Kansas to 24 points on 28 percent shooting in the first half Feb. 13 and outscored Oklahoma 21-4 in the first nine minutes of the second half Saturday been all season? Where has it been for even one complete game?

Prohm wasn’t sure after the loss Saturday.

“That’s what we talked about at the end. Oklahoma is the same team,” Prohm said. “They’re the ninth-ranked team in the country in the first half and the second half. The difference was Iowa State and the way we played.

“I don’t have the answers to that, that’s probably the frustrating thing. As a coach, you wanna be able to have the answers, push the right buttons.”

Oklahoma handily controls the foul line

Diving deeper into the box score of the Sooners’ 10-point victory will offer plenty of reasons for why Iowa State couldn’t pull off the upset.

And one of the biggest was the disparity in free-throw shooting between the two teams. Oklahoma went 16-22 from the charity stripe Saturday, compared to Iowa State’s 4-6 showing.

Oklahoma scored close to 26 percent of its 41 first-half points at the line, while Iowa State produced 0.08 percent of its points from its free throws in the first half of action.

However, the foul line wasn’t just an issue Saturday. The ninth-ranked Sooners shot 15-21 from the line in its win over Iowa State on Feb. 6, whereas the Cyclones finished the game 2-2 from the line.

In its two games against Iowa State this season, Oklahoma won the battle at the foul line a combined 31-43 to Iowa State’s 6-8.

George Conditt quietly improving

During the continued losing streak for Iowa State, George Conditt IV has been improving.

The junior forward tallied four points, eight rebounds and one block in his 19 minutes of action Saturday.

Those numbers might not look eye-popping on their own, but over his last four games combined, Conditt has put up 10 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks.

Conditt had seven combined blocks in his previous 14 games.

Prohm and the Cyclones expected big things from Conditt this season and down the stretch he’s started to turn a page of sorts. With a couple games left this season, Conditt has a chance to end his junior year on better terms than how it started.