Holmes salvages an otherwise sloppy game from the Cyclones


Tyler Coe

Jaren Holmes gets helped up by his teammates after getting fouled hard against Milwaukee on Nov. 20, 2022.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

AMES — Iowa State men’s basketball fended off a poor shooting outing to take down Milwaukee 68-53 on Sunday.

The game was not as clean as the Cyclones had hoped, but defensive pressure made the difference in the end.

Forcing turnovers on each of the first five possessions to start the game, it became evident early that the Cyclones were going to emphasize ball pressure on Sunday. In the first half of play alone, Milwaukee turned the ball over 15 times.

“I really loved the energy we started the game with,” head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “When you can set the tone that way, it should lead to good things.”

Despite forcing all of these turnovers, Milwaukee still hung around in the first half. The Panthers trailed 37-26 with one half to play.

The Panthers would finish the game with 27 turnovers, with Iowa State scoring 27 points off of turnovers compared to Milwaukee’s eight.

“As much as anything, doing effort-based things,” Otzelberger said.

Otzelberger mentioned things such as offensive rebounding, which the Cyclones had 17 of, as another hustle-based area that Iowa State had success in. Otzelberger specifically credited Robert Jones for the energy he provided, scoring ten points and snatching three offensive rebounds.

As a team, the three-point shot was just not falling for Iowa State. Iowa State shot 6-28 from three, which is just 21.8%.

In addition to the Cyclones having a poor shooting night, the team also began to get sloppy with the basketball in the second half. Iowa State turned the ball over.

“Part of it’s just the fatigue that set in,” Otzelberger said.

Robert Jones finishes with the right hand under the hoop against Milwaukee on Nov. 20, 2022. (Tyler Coe)

Otzelberger said the team has been a bit intentionally overworked in practice as he tries to instill mental toughness over the course of a long season.

Offensively, one player stood out above the rest, and that was Jaren Holmes. 

Holmes led the Cyclones in scoring in the season opener and found himself right back at the top of the scoreboard on Sunday.

Holmes scored 19 points on 7-17 shooting, adding five assists.

“We believe in him as a go-to scorer,” Otzelberger said.

Otzelberger mentioned that with Gabe Kalscheur playing limited minutes due to a hip injury, Holmes needed to step up for the team, and he did. Holmes no doubt looked like the go-to guy on Sunday, getting the ball in nearly every crucial situation.

Caleb Grill, Aljaž Kunc and Joens each joined Holmes in double figures for the game.

Next up for the Cyclones will be the Phil Knight Invitational which will kick off at 2:30 Thursday in Portland, Oregon.