Three Big Takeaways: Sooners give Iowa State second home loss


Tyler Coe

Jaren Holmes attempts a layup against Oklahoma on Feb. 25, 2023.

AMES — After back-to-back road games and losses, Cyclone men’s basketball returned to Hilton Coliseum Saturday in hopes to sweep the Oklahoma Sooners.

Iowa State already has one sweep under their belt, against TCU, but got swept by Oklahoma State, the team that gave them their first at home loss.

Road wins have been a weakness for the Cyclones but getting wins at home is where they’ve stayed confident. Or so that’s how it used to be.

Oklahoma ended up giving Iowa State their second home loss. The Cyclones have now lost seven of their last nine games.

“We respect every team we play, especially in this league, everybody’s good,” head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “It’s more about us having pride to play hard every possession…we just got to have more personal pride in what we do.”

Here are three big takeaways from the Cyclones’ 61-50 loss.

Grill is back

After being out the past two games and not playing as frequently due to a back injury, Caleb Grill was back in the team’s lineup.

While Grill did not start, he played 28 minutes, had seven points and an assist.

“Caleb gives us additional spacing and ball movement,” Otzelberger said.

The Cyclones leading scorer was Gabe Kalscheur with 12 points followed by Tamin Lipsey with 10. Robert Jones had seven rebounds with Jaren Holmes leading in assists (3).

However, what held the team back tremendously was their free throws. While the Sooners shot nearly perfect from the line, Iowa State shot 59%.

Heating up

It took five missed baskets from both sides of the court before the first points were scored.

Nonetheless, a steal by Lipsey got the Cyclones on the board first followed by a basket from Osun Osunniyi after an assist by Holmes.

Another assist from Holmes helped Kalscheur grab a three-pointer and at the first media timeout, the Sooners had yet to score a basket while the Cyclones led 7-0.

However, Oklahoma was able to grab a three-pointer immediately after the timeout. The Cyclones then went on a 7-0 run which included a Grill three-pointer and a dunk by Jones.

A three-pointer by Oklahoma ended the Cyclones run and with seven minutes left in the first half, the Sooners began to find their groove, as Iowa State led by just three points.

Caleb Grill shoots a layup against Oklahoma on Feb. 25, 2023. (Tyler Coe)

As halftime approached, Iowa State had a five point lead, 28-23.

“I think we had good looks most of the game,” Lipsey said, reflecting on the offense. “We had a lot of shots close to the rim, a lot of layups, things that we normally make that we just couldn’t get to fall.”

Sooners on the run

While the Sooners came out of halftime hot, the Cyclones did not.

Oklahoma went on a 6-0 run to grab their first lead of the game. Over the course of five minutes, they had gone on a 17-2 run over Iowa State and led 42-32.

“We can’t let our offensive disappointment affect how we defend,” Otzelberger said. T

he Sooners were led by the Groves brothers. Jacob Groves had 16 points while his brother Tanner had 13 rebounds, a season high. Fortunately for Iowa State, a Kalscheur three-pointer ended Oklahoma’s run.

“We just have to be more aggressive, be more physical,” Lipsey said.

However, with six minutes remaining, Oklahoma continued to lead while Iowa State made just one of seven shooting attempts.From there, the Cyclones were unable to get back in front and unable to grab the sweep they were looking for.

“We have to look back at what we did wrong and look ourselves in the mirror and say ‘what can we do better and how can we flip the script,” Kalscheur said.

Iowa State will have a quick turnaround and return to Hilton Coliseum Monday night to play West Virginia in their last home game of the season.

“We’ve got to get right back to work,” Otzelberger said.