‘It’s not a loss, it’s a learning situation’: Cyclones show promise but can’t get over the hump

Iowa State guard Tre Jackson fights for a loose ball against TCU on Feb. 27 in Hilton Coliseum. (Photo courtesy of Luke Lu/Iowa State Athletics)

Matt Belinson

Tre Jackson considers what happened to the Cyclones on Saturday in Hilton Coliseum a ‘learning situation’, not necessarily viewing it as the team’s 14th straight loss, which moved the Cyclones to 2-18 overall and 0-15 in Big 12 play.

So what can a team learn about itself when its record is what it is and the season is in a losing-skid on a historic level?

Jackson said over the last three games, Iowa State has shown it can hang with some of the Big 12’s best, but the tough-as-nails mentality isn’t getting them anywhere closer to where they want to be: back in the win column.

“We fight, we’ve been fighting hard these last couple games. I’m proud of everybody,” Jackson said. “It’s not a loss, it’s a learning situation right now. We just gotta keep learning from these and what we’re going through right now and keep pressing.”

They showed that fight once again in Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, with the winless Cyclones battling back from a seven-point hole at halftime to eventually take a 56-53 lead over the Horned Frogs.

Iowa State was led by two of its biggest seniors on Senior day in the comeback attempt, with Jalen Coleman-Lands and Solomon Young combining for 20 of the Cyclones’ 42 second half points. The pair shot a combined 8-12 from the field, with four rebounds, two assists and four blocks.

The team shot 56.7 from the field and 44.4 from 3 in the second half, but could never take the lead away from TCU again. 

Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm didn’t learn anything he didn’t already express throughout this season: The Cyclones have grit. They’re resilient. But they still haven’t found a way to get over the hump.

“We just need to get over the hump for these guys,” Prohm said after the 76-72 loss on Saturday. “It’s frustrating from my end because these guys continue to compete, they continue to fight, they got after it really good the last 25 minutes.”

It’s about execution, or lack thereof for Prohm and his team, with the sixth-year head coach telling the media postgame the Cyclones have been through it all but continue to come out and fight.

Live-ball turnovers and allowing the Horned Frogs to take over at the foul line was the difference in Prohm’s assessment after Iowa State continued to slide toward a winless conference season.

Prohm said wins and losses are how programs are judge in the end, but given how much his team has grown over the last two weeks on the court, he said the atmosphere inside the locker room after continuing losses like Saturday take their toll.

“Obviously, they’re probably beyond-crushed,” Prohm said. “They’re competitors, they’ve been resilient, they’ve persevered through everything that’s been thrown at them this year so obviously it’s a disappointed locker room because … we haven’t won and so there’s no magical speech that I can give them, I really just hit on the positives that we did, talk a little bit about the areas we need to get better in, that five, six minute stretch, why that happened and continuing to challenge them.”