‘It really hurts’: Cyclones unable to grab win on senior night


Tyler Coe

Eli King and Gabe Kalscheur walk off the floor after a 72-69 loss against West Virginia on Feb. 27, 2023.

Iowa State men’s basketball celebrated their seniors Monday night in their last home game of the 2022-23 season.

Caleb Grill, Jaren Holmes, Robert Jones, Gabe Kaslcheur, Tre King, Aljaž Kunc, Osun Osunniyi and Hason Ward were honored 15 minutes prior to the Cyclones’ tip-off against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

With their last match-up against the Mountaineers ending in a 74-71 loss filled with countless fouls, Iowa State looked to change that on their home court.

While the game did not turn out in Iowa State’s favor, resulting in a 72-69 loss, the Cyclones are thankful for what this season has brought and will continue to hold their heads high.

“I just love everybody in the locker room regardless of the outcome,” Holmes said. “We got another game and two tournaments to play–can’t hang our heads.”

The starting five remained the same for Iowa State — Tamin Lipsey, Osunniyi, Kalscheur, Holmes and Kunc — and West Virginia came out hot, putting up a three-pointer right out of the gate.

Five minutes in, Kalscheur had the first seven points for Iowa State with West Virginia’s Erik Stevenson having all nine of their points.

Kalschuer continued to be on fire after drilling a three-pointer just seconds after making a free throw from a West Virginia technical foul. At the second media timeout, Kalscheur had 11 of the team’s 13 points.

However, while he was hot on points, Kalscheur was also hot on fouls with three just 10 minutes in.

“He [Kalscheur] was feeling it,” Holmes said. “To see him happy and see him succeed is a very special moment for me.”

While no players fouled out, Kunc and Osunniyi ended with four fouls.

As Kalscheur spent some time on the bench, the Cyclones cooled down while West Virginia grabbed a lead and took it to halftime with a score of 35-27.

Other than points, stats between the teams were similar. At the half, each team had 15 rebounds and two steals. The Cyclones had four assists with the Mountaineers at six.

Furthermore, Iowa State shot 33% from three-point range and West Virginia shot 38%. As for field goals, the Cyclones shot 43% at the half with the Mountaineers shooting 45%.

Jones stepped in for Osunniyi’s spot as the second half began, but Osunniyi was on the court minutes later and came out with a dunk, getting Cyclone fans loud and on their feet.

Osunniyi kept fans cheering after a second back which had Iowa State trailing by just five.

The Cyclone defense then forced three West Virginia turnovers in a minute and trailed by two with 15 minutes remaining.

A Holmes basket tied things up, and a Holmes three gave the Cyclones the lead.

*Jaren Holmes provides his energy against West Virginia on Feb. 27, 2023. (Tyler Coe)

With 10 minutes left, West Virginia’s Tre Mitchell was ejected from the game after a flagrant two-foul on Kunc who was also given a technical foul. Joe Toussaint, an Iowa transfer, and Grill were also given technicals for the incident.

“We’ve got to be more disciplined in that situation,” head coach T.J. Otzelberger said.

At the five minute mark, Iowa State had a five point lead, 62-57.

Nonetheless, West Virginia took the lead back, 65-64, with two minutes left, and even with a Kalscheur three with 10 seconds left, the Cyclones were unable to come out with a senior night win.

“It really hurts,” Holmes said. “Kind of at a loss for words.”

Kalscheur led the team in points with 26, a season high, and Holmes had 16. Jones and King had five rebounds with Osunniyi having three assists.

The Cyclones will have one more game in their regular season, a road test against Baylor, before the Big 12 tournament begins.

“We should be disappointed. We do expect more from ourselves. We do have higher standards,” Otzelberger said. “That disappointment should lead us to working really hard…we got to be better.”