Takeaways: Iowa State suffers its worst loss of the season

Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton moves up the court with the ball against Texas Tech on Jan. 9 at Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

Some of Iowa State men’s basketball’s best games played in the 2020-21 season have been against highly ranked teams in the Big 12, but that reputation didn’t hold up against No.18 Texas Tech on Saturday.

A 91-64 loss was handed to Head Coach Steve Prohm and Iowa State and the Cyclones fell to 2-7 and 0-5 in the Big 12.

Lacking dimes

The assist total for the Cyclones has never been good this season and that continued against the Red Raiders.

Iowa State only totaled 10 assists and six of those came from Javan Johnson and Rasir Bolton — the team’s primary ball-handlers.

This is nothing new, but it highlights a lack of ball movement that has been the issue with the Cyclone offense all season.

The team is missing last year’s team leader and now NBA rookie standout Tyrese Halliburton and it has shown with ball-movement.

To make things worse, Iowa State’s brief hiatus from turnovers which took place against Texas didn’t last against Texas Tech with the Cyclones turning the ball over 15 times.

Johnson takes charge again

After starting the season struggling, Johnson is settling into his role in the Cyclone starting lineup after taking a year off after his transfer from Troy.

Johnson had an inefficient day from the field, but he made up for it by racking up numbers in assist and rebounds.

Johnson led the team in both categories with eight rebounds and four assists and also led the team in steals with two.

He was one of four Cyclones with double figures, scoring 14 points on 6-16 shooting and 2-5 one three-pointers.

His role as one of the primary ball-handlers of the team was something that could’ve been in question after the start of the year, but with four assists and only two turnovers against a solid Texas Tech defense, Iowa State could look to him further going forward.

Defensive struggles

The main storyline Saturday wasn’t just that Texas Tech dominated. The Cyclones helped with that on the defensive end, leaving many players open on the 3-point line and giving the Red Raiders ample opportunities off the bounce.

Possession after possession in the first half saw Texas Tech either bury a three-pointer or get three the old fashioned way from an and-1.

Texas Tech did take advantage of those opportunities, so it can’t all be on the Iowa State defense, but Iowa State didn’t help itself in keeping with a good Red Raider team.

The Red Raiders shot 58.9 percent overall and 38.9 percent from distance and while the two teams shot the exact same 85.7 percent from the charity stripe, Texas Tech went there three times as often, burying 18-21 attempts.