Three Big Takeaways: UCONN puts a damper on successful Cyclone weekend


Tyler Coe

Tamin Lipsey throws a lob to Robert Jones against Milwaukee on Nov. 20, 2022.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

The Cyclones finished off the Phil Knight Invitational in less than ideal fashion, dropping the championship game against No. 20 Connecticut 71-53 on Sunday. 

Iowa State was outrebounded 48-19, shot poorly and did not have its best day defensively.

Through the struggles, the Cyclones still put together a strong tournament with wins over Villanova and No. 1 North Carolina. Here are the three big takeaways.

Slow out of the gate

Whether it was fatigue from playing a third game in four days, players having their minds still stuck on Friday’s win over No. 1 North Carolina or just a lack of execution, things were not clicking for the Iowa State offense in the first half.

Shooting just 12-28 in the first half and only 1-3 on three-point attempts, the shooting was a major issue to open the game. Percentages aside, there was not a player that showed the ability to step up and score amidst droughts.

Defensively, foul troubles were the issue. 14 team fouls resulted in Connecticut shooting 15-20 from the free throw line while the Cyclones attempted just three. 

Luckily for the Cyclones, they escaped the first half down just 38-28, with the game still well in reach.

Lipsey looks comfortable

Tamin Lipsey has played well in the point guard role all season long, showing off his playmaking ability and his pesky defense.

Lipsey entered the game averaging over four assists but had not really shown off his scoring ability, averaging just four points.

This was a different story in this one, as Lipsey scored 12 points on 6-9 shooting to go along with three assists and two steals. 

Lipsey is going to play an important role in the way the season goes for Iowa State, and if he can add consistent scoring to his bag the team will be in solid shape moving forward.

An overall success

Despite the loss in the title game, the Phil Knight Invitational was an overall success story for Iowa State.

An overtime win over Villanova, who has struggled to start the season, yet always seem to improve as the season goes on.

The highlight win against No. 1 Noth Carolina, who lost once again on Sunday against Alabama, but are still one of the favorites to win a national championship.

These two wins will provide a massive boost to the Cyclone resumé.

Obviously not the result the Cyclones had hoped for, yet the experience gained for discovering your weaknesses can sometimes be just as valuable. Fans saw this last season as the Cyclones struggled in Big 12 play, and still ended up going to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Next up for the Cyclones will be a matchup with North Dakota on Wednesday in Hilton Coliseum.