‘Not our proudest moment’: Cyclones perform ‘unacceptable’ at Big 12 Tournament


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger yells instructions to the Cyclones during their 72-41 loss on Thursday to Texas Tech.

Matt Belinson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An unacceptable performance.

That’s the description Iowa State Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger offered towards his team’s 72-41 loss to Texas Tech Thursday in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament.

Dejected sighs and visible frustration were clear to see as Otzelberger, Tyrese Hunter and Aljaz Kunc walked to the podium after the program’s largest margin of defeat in the history of the Big 12 Tournament. 

A familiar sight of offensive woes reached another level against a stingy Texas Tech defense, with the Cyclones finishing with more turnovers (20) than made baskets (15) on 31 percent shooting from the field.

“On our end of things, that was an unacceptable effort. Turned the ball over, let them go in transition,” Otzelberger said. “Not our proudest moment and unacceptable effort. We just got to be better.”

Izaiah Brockington finished with seven points on 3-16 shooting. Gabe Kalscheur shot 1-5 from the field with three turnovers. The Cyclones shot 5-25 from deep.

The Cyclones have lost their last three games by an average of 18 points and find themselves stumbling into what appears to be a NCAA Tournament bid.

But is there any level of concern with this team for Otzelberger? The Cyclones have lost their last three games and have been punched in the mouth more than ever.

“I’m actually really proud of the team right now. Last year at the same time, our team had two wins. This year we have 20. I think, if memory serves me correct, that’s probably the biggest turnaround in college basketball,” Otzelberger said. “Our guys have a lot to be proud of. They’ve had a very good season based on our strengths.”

“There’s no concern, there’s all sense of pride in what we’re building, what we’ve done, how these guys have embraced habits. I think anybody that would look at it as a concern would have a very warped view on what these guys have accomplished this year.”

For Hunter, his first Big 12 Tournament didn’t go according to plan.

The freshman point guard contributed seven turnovers to the Cyclones’ total of 20 and finished with a team-best nine points. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year has been credited with having a short memory.

As tough as it may sound, Hunter said all the Cyclones can do is forget and trudge forward, despite putting together another blowout loss.

“Leave this game behind us,” Hunter said.

The Cyclones’ 41 points is the lowest in program history in the Big 12 Tournament. The program’s previous low was 47 points against Texas A&M on March 13, 2008.

Texas Tech’s defense is certainly a trouble-maker — ranking second in the Big 12 in defense allowing 60.7 ppg overall and ranks the best in league play alone, allowing 62.9 ppg.

But Aljaz Kunc said the Cyclones gave in and watched as Texas Tech took the win from them. Iowa State surrendered 23 fast break points to the Red Raiders, lost the battle in the paint 42-14 and had no players in double figures.

Kunc agreed with Hunter’s sentiment that it’s time to move on, but the Cyclones can’t forget why Texas Tech won Thursday.

“It looked like they wanted it more today,” Kunc said.

The Cyclones await their fate Sunday in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show.