Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State faces similar, new issues in loss to Texas Tech


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Tyrese Hunter attempts a free throw during Iowa State’s loss to Texas Tech on March 10.

James Powell

Bigger stage, similar result.

The sentiment as Iowa State traveled to Kansas City, Mo., for the Big 12 Tournament was that this stage was new, and certainly higher stakes, but that they felt ready for the challenge.

Then came the game itself, and they looked out-matched in every which way.

The Cyclones fell to Texas Tech, 72-41, in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday. Iowa State entered as a six seed and matched up against the No. 3 seeded Red Raiders, a team that gave them fits on offense this season.

To say those fits continued might be an understatement as Iowa State fell down big early, saw the deficit grow as the second half rolled on and ultimately found themselves as the team on the wrong end of another scoring record.

Their 41 points is the lowest scoring output the Cyclones have put forth in Big 12 Tournament history, and it looked the part in every way.

A shaky night from Izaiah Brockington compounded with Texas Tech seemingly playing exactly the way they wanted and another dismal night from the field for the Cyclones led to the blowout loss that now sends Iowa State home to await their assumed NCAA Tournament seeding.

Texas Tech stays on-brand

You don’t just stumble into being the top-rated defense according to KenPom, which has the Red Raiders as the best team in the nation in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency.

Texas Tech has suffocated teams all year, taken away the other team’s best player and dominated inside with stellar rebounding and turning their opponents over at an impressive clip.

That was certainly the story early and often Thursday. The Red Raiders out-rebounded Iowa State 40-24, forced 20 Cyclone turnovers and turned them into 20 points of their own.

Texas Tech’s aggression and constant ball pressure forced Iowa State into loads of sloppy passes and never really allowed the Cyclones to establish any sort of presence on offense.

It started and ended with Tyrese Hunter, who was his team’s lone source of offense early but ended the game with seven turnovers, his most in a game this season and in turn his career as  a Cyclone point guard.

Iowa State did themselves no favors either, shooting just 31 percent from the floor and making just five of the 25 threes Texas Tech forced them into.

Brockington stays quiet

Often times this season, Brockington willed his team into games with his offense, seemingly able to get off a quality shot more often than not and shooting them at a high enough clip to make a name for himself in the Big 12.

With that success comes attention, and he certainly got it from the Red Raider defense in Kansas City.

Brockington had just seven points on 3-16 shooting, made one of his six threes and had two rebounds and two assists.

It marks his lowest point output against a Big 12 opponent and his lowest overall since he put up three points on Nov. 21 against Grambling, when he only played 13 minutes and attempted just two shots.

In his last four games combined, he’s averaged 12 points per game and has done it shooting 18-60 from the field, good for just 30 percent.

He certainly shows up first on scouting reports for any team preparing to face the Cyclones, and as of late teams have held him in check more often than not.

Another offensive power outage

The Cyclones went down 29-4 to Baylor on March 5 and had a streak of 14 missed field goals in a row. They were able to climb back into that game thanks to a second-half spark from multiple players on offense.

Wednesday, however, it started cold and didn’t show any signs of heating up.

Iowa State made 28 percent of their shots in the first half and followed it up with 35 percent shooting in the second half. 

No player scored in double figures as Hunter was the team’s leading scorer with nine points on 4-9 shooting. As a team, they committed 20 turnovers and scored just 15 made field goals.

It’s a sight not too unfamiliar for a team that has presented themselves all season long as a defense-first, race-to-50 squad that hopes to bring their opponent’s offensive woes down to their level.

When that doesn’t happen, a 31-point blow-out loss is the result. Now, the Cyclones will await their NCAA Tournament fate on Selection Sunday with at least a week to try and get the sour taste of Thursday’s game out of their mouths before the tournament kicks off.