Cyclones prepared for hostile CyHawk environment and electric offense


Tyler Coe

Robert Jones shoots a turnaround jumper in the paint against St. Johns on Dec. 4, 2022.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

Iowa State men’s basketball had a difficult non-conference slate, including teams with a wide range of styles. 

The next matchup for the Cyclones is no different, as they match up with the Iowa Hawkeyes and its prolific offense Thursday.

“They do a great job of not letting the ball rest, continuing to move it and give their offense pace,” head coach T.J. Otzelberger said.

Led by Kris Murray’s 19.4 points per game average, the Hawkeyes have shown offensive prowess, scoring 83.4 points per game as a team.

This style of play is a stark contrast to that of the Cyclones, as Iowa State averages just 71.8 points per game and prefers to get into slow-paced, defensive battles.

Kris’ brother Keegan Murray solidified himself amongst the top college players in the country last season before going as the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft to the Sacramento Kings.

Otzelberger said there are definitely more similarities in the Murray brothers’ games than there are differences, with the biggest factor in Kris’ leap being his confidence level.

“From my vantage point, there’s a lot of the parallels and the similarities than there are the differences,” Otzelberger said.

Sometimes in a rivalry game, teams shy away from talking about how much the game means to the teams involved. That is not true of the CyHawk matchup though, as the Cyclone players said there is some added emotion involved in this rivalry.

Iowa had some success in the early season, starting 6-2 with losses to TCU and Duke. The Hawkeyes have picked up wins over teams such as Clemson, Georgia Tech and Seton Hall.

This will be the first true road game for the Cyclones this season, as the rest of their experience outside of Hilton Coliseum came as neutral-site games in Portland, Oregon, for the Phil Knight Invitational.

Robert Jones expects there to be a fair share of Cyclone fans in the building on Thursday night, as he has high praise for the fans out of Ames.

“Iowa State has probably one of the best traveling fans in the country, and we appreciate everybody for that,” Jones said.

Otzelberger said that he and the rest of the team need to focus on themselves and not give the crowd a reason to get rowdy.

“Mental toughness stands out to me, and that means making the game go the way you need to go, not being reactive when things don’t go your way,” Otzelberger said.

The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. Thursday in Iowa City.