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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones run out of steam, Aggies take third place

Jacob Rice
Tamin Lipsey is knocked down during the ISU vs. Grambling State men’s basketball game, Hilton Coliseum, Nov. 19, 2023.

Despite early offensive success, cold shooting came around again in Iowa State’s 73-69 loss to Texas A&M.

Although Texas A&M’s roster was slimmer than usual, the Cyclones could not get over mistakes in the second half. Iowa State led by as many as 21 points in the contest but could not keep hold of that lead through the entire game.

Texas A&M’s win gave it a third-place finish at the ESPN Events Invitational, while Iowa State went home with its second straight loss.

Threes rain down early for Iowa State

The tides looked to be shifted for the Cyclones, as they had full control of the game early on. After a pair of rough shooting nights, everything seemed to fall early against Texas A&M.

Iowa State took its first big lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Milan Momcilovic and Keshon Gilbert. Once the starters rotated out, a new pair of scorers got their names in the mix.

Jackson Paveletzke sunk a shot from deep, and Curtis Jones followed suit. The Cyclones were up by double-digits thanks to the production from deep.

Gilbert also hit a second 3-pointer at the halfway point in the first. With Gilbert posing a threat in the lane, he was left open to take more shots from beyond the arc.

Iowa State was shooting 5-for-10 from beyond the arc while Texas A&M missed the first seven it took.

The threes kept falling. With five minutes in the half, Gilbert took a pass from Lipsey and pushed it out to Momcilovic who put up another 3-pointer. Iowa State extended its lead to 17.

Jones hit another three late in the half and then drove to the rim on the next possession to put the Cyclones up by over 20. The offense was starting to click early in the contest.

Cold shooting strikes again

With shots falling at ease in the first half, Iowa State was due for a dry streak.

In the last two matchups, the Cyclones could not get things going on offense various times. Those shooting issues came back late in the first half against Texas A&M.

With time running out in the half, Texas A&M made a late push to close the gap. At the same moment, the Cyclones were about to go silent.

The Aggies went on an 11-0 run to end the first half and cut a 21-point Cyclone lead to 10. That momentum carried right over into the second half.

Three minutes into the second, Texas A&M extended its run to 16-0. The Cyclones still had not scored a point. What was once a 21-point lead was down to five points.

during the ISU vs. Grambling State men’s basketball game, Hilton Coliseum, Nov. 19, 2023. (Jacob Rice)

Lipsey was the Cyclone to break the drought after drawing a foul and hitting both his free throws. However, the Cyclones still could not hit shots from the field.

After shooting over 40% from the field in the first half, the Cyclones missed their first nine shots of the second half. With the half rolling on, Texas A&M cut the lead to one.

Momcilovic, who had been dominant in the first half, could not get any shots to fall later, shooting just 2-for-8 from beyond the arc five minutes into the second half. However, Momcilovic was the first Cyclone to hit a basket in the second half, as he drilled a three to extend the Cyclones’ lead.

Despite Momcilovic’s three, the momentum was still fully on Texas A&M’s side.

Just less than halfway through the second, Texas A&M took its first lead of the night off a Tre King foul—King’s fourth foul of the night.

From that point on, Iowa State was stuck playing catch-up.

Texas A&M finds answers in fresh faces

Iowa State’s hopes were high going into the game, as the Aggies were without two of their star players.

Texas A&M’s Henry Coleman III and Tyrece Radford were sidelined to start the game for undisclosed reasons. With Texas A&M down two prolific scorers and stout defenders, Iowa State had one last big name to deal with: Wade Taylor IV.

Taylor entered the matchup averaging 21 points a game, and he had already put up 58 points in the first two games of the tournament.

The Cyclones were not allowing Taylor to pick up fouls or get open shots from deep early in the game. That defensive strategy kept Taylor quiet at the start of the game.

Taylor was held scoreless for a majority of the first half, as he turned the ball over four times.

Taylor’s first points of the contest came off free throws with less than two minutes in the first half.

However, despite the turnovers from Taylor—he finished with seven—Iowa State could not create opportunities off of them. Along with that, it was only a matter of time before Taylor took off, as he finished with 14 points.

With Taylor staying quiet early on, other Aggies stepped up and surprised the Cyclones at times. In the midst of the 16-0 run early in the second half, Andersson Garcia had meaningful minutes to take over Iowa State’s defense.

Garcia drilled all four of his shots from the field to put up nine points. However, it was his defense that stifled Iowa State.

Garcia was fighting for important rebounds, finishing with six rebounds. Garcia also robbed Iowa State of opportunities, as he finished with four steals during the 16-0 run.

Solomon Washington also filled one of the open roles well for the Aggies, as he caused issues on both ends of the floor for Iowa State.

Late in the game, Iowa State was mounting a comeback.

The Cyclones kept bringing the game within one possession, but it was Washington that kept the lead just out of reach. Washington drilled three of his four 3-pointers and shot 6-for-9 from the field.

Not only was Washington dominant on offense, but he kept Iowa State off the boards, snagging five rebounds from Iowa State shots.

With the game nearing its end, Iowa State trailed by six points with time left to get back into the game. However, Washington was not going to let that happen.

Washington was the one to slam it home for the Aggies and put the nail in the coffin for the Cyclones. He finished with 18 points following his dunk.

With many variables to look out for on Texas A&M’s team, Iowa State could not find its success from the first half and dropped its second straight game.

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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