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Three Big Takeaways: Threes, turnovers and bench depth ropes Rattlers

Tamin+Lipsey+shoots+a+corner+three+against+Florida+A%26M+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Dec.+17%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Tamin Lipsey shoots a corner three against Florida A&M at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 17, 2023.

AMES — Sharp shooting across the board from Iowa State, along with once again winning the turnover battle, jolted the Cyclones to a 96-58 win over Florida A&M.

Iowa State snatched its ninth win of the season with its commanding win against the Rattlers as the team nears the end of the non-conference schedule.

From the starting five to their solid role players off the bench, the Cyclones rolled to another dominant win thanks to one of their best shooting nights of the season.

Raining threes in Hilton

While Iowa State has focused on its presence inside for much of its games this season, they took advantage of the unique spacing they got against the Rattlers. Due to their constant work inside, the Cyclones set themselves up for wide-open threes throughout the game with many finding their way into the net.

Iowa State connected on all five of their first attempts from beyond the arch, three from Tamin Lipsey and the other two from Jackson Paveletzke, which set the tone for the rest of the game.

Iowa State finished the game connecting on 10 of its 20 shots from deep, and an overall shooting percentage of 59.3. Six Cyclones finished the game shooting over 50% and five in the double-digit scoring department.

With the passing at a season-high against the Rattlers, finding an open shooter was almost effortless for the Cyclones.

“We’re really good when we just play for each other,” Milan Momcilovic said. “Make the extra pass, getting downhill, making the extra pass and finding out big guys. Obviously the way we shot today, the way Tamin [Lipsey] shot today, if we continue to shoot like that we’re going to be really good.”

Lipsey led the Cyclones’ hot night from outside with five threes, a career-high, and finished with the most points for Iowa State with 19 in 31 minutes.

Last season, Lipsey was not known for knocking down shots from 3-point land, which was a detriment for Iowa State in spots throughout the season. Head coach T.J. Otzelberger has praised the work his young point guard put in during the offseason to get his numbers up, and the new threat that he offers to opposing teams.

“When [Lipsey] has his feet set from three he’s shooting it as well as anyone on our team,” Otzelberger said. “Really proud of him and for the work he continues to do to earn that confidence.”

Turnovers a plenty

The Cyclones entered the game averaging 19 forced turnovers a game, and they made it a point to showcase that number right from the opening tip. They started the game by forcing the Rattlers into turnovers on their first two possessions, which helped Iowa State jump out to its early lead.

After the first three minutes of the game, the Cyclones had forced five turnovers which sparked an 11-2 run and forced Florida A&M to call a timeout.

Iowa State’s first turnover did not come until over halfway through the first half, and at that point, they were winning the turnover battle by 10.

After the first 20 minutes, Iowa State had forced 17 turnovers which they scored 23 points off of. They added eight points off six turnovers in the second half to help them maintain control offensively.

The Cyclones ended the game with 15 steals, with Keshon Gilbert and Curtis Jones each grabbing four.

Iowa State has made it easy for itself to get out to early leads thanks to its continuous work to stay tight with its opponents defensively. The constant ball pressure and clogging of the lanes drove the Cyclones’ offense throughout the game and made it easy for them to get into their offense and cruise to their fourth straight win.

“We know what we do well that makes us successful,” Tre King said. “I think as long as we stick to that and play for each other, play in the paint and get rebounds, everything will take care of itself.”

Bench guys execute gameplan

From the starting five down to the four bench players who saw relevant time against the Rattlers, every Iowa State player was on the same page in terms of what they needed to do to come out with a win.

Jones and Paveletzke continued to see success off the bench during their time and combined for 22 points with Jones leading the way with 13. Paveletzke added his third three in the waning moments of the second half and shot 4-for-5 from the field overall.

Jones had a season-high five assists in his 26 minutes off the bench and put together another consistent game after starting the season with little impact during his time on the court.

Iowa State also saw efficiency from Demarion Watson and Omaha Biliew, despite each not seeing much time on the court. While they each had four points, the effort defensively and willingness to move the ball inside is what stuck out to Otzelberger, and is something he wants to see from everyone off the bench.

“It’s important that guys come off the bench that there is an accountability that when they come in they are going to produce immediately,” Otzelberger said. “That doesn’t necessarily need to be points, but with how we play you need to produce rebounds, you need to produce ball pressure, you need to get us into the paint offensively and share the basketball with your teammates.”

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