Three Big Takeaways: Every Cyclone gets involved to beat North Carolina A&T


Tyler Coe

Osun Osunniyi throws down a reverse slam against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 13

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

Iowa State men’s basketball showed that it will not lean on a single player to score this season, taking down North Carolina A&T 80-43 on Sunday.

The Cyclones put on a defensive clinic to go along with getting a few players comfortable on the court. Here are the three big takeaways from the game.

13-man show

With a lot of teams, fans could pick between a player or two that will be the leading scorer. Last season for the Cyclones, these were players such as Izaiah Brockington and Tyrese Hunter.

This year, it is genuinely a mystery which Cyclone will lead the team.

In the season opener, it wound up being Jaren Holmes with 23 points scored.

Aljaž Kunc was the star of the show on Sunday, scoring 17 points on 6-9 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists.

Joining Kunc in double figures were Osun Osunniyi, Jaren Holmes and Tamin Lipsey with 16, 13 and 10, respectively.

“All 12, 13 guys brought energy,” Kunc said.

Don’t be surprised to see the Cyclones post balanced scoring nights like this frequently.

Nothing easy

Caleb Grill passes the ball against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 13 (Tyler Coe)

The Iowa State players have prided themselves on not allowing the opponents to get comfortable. Despite allowing just 39 points in the season opener, Caleb Grill said afterward that he felt the team could have kept them below 30.

The Cyclones are not satisfied with dominant wins unless they feel it included 40 minutes of an elite defense. Even when up by 30 points, you can see the Cyclones diving on the floor for loose balls.

Head coach T.J. Otzelberger said this is more of an expectation for his team rather than a bonus. The staff expects the players to play as hard as they can, no matter the score or opponent.

“That’s the standard; that’s the expectation when you put on this jersey,” Otzelberger said. “We’re going to continue to uphold that standard.”

Iowa State held the Aggies to 25.6% shooting as a team and forced them into 19 turnovers. Even with the Cyclones having a tough shooting night of their own, it is difficult for any team to overcome the offensive struggles the Aggies had.

Lipsey gets comfortable

Freshman point guard Lipsey showed flashes of what he can bring to the table in the season opener, but Sunday served as a bit of a breakout game for him. 

Lipsey did well as a distributor and defender in the season opener; however, he was shut out in the scoring column.

“He doesn’t look like a freshman,” Otzelberger said. “He has some poise, he has moxy [and] he’s a competitor.”

Otzelberger credited Lipsey, saying that he is a pesky defender, great at taking care of the basketball and can score at times too.

The offense is going to run through Lipsey all season long, so it will be crucial for him to get comfortable with college basketball.

Next up for the Cyclones will be a matchup with Milwaukee at 5 p.m. Nov. 20 in Hilton Coliseum.