Iowa State ‘inconsistent’ against Kansas State in another road loss

Iowa State redshirt freshman Cameron Lard bends over in frustration towards the end of the Cyclones 78-66 loss to Kansas State. 

Brian Mozey

MANHATTAN, Kansas — 0:00.

That’s what read in the stat line for lead time for Iowa State.

The Cyclones were tied with Kansas State 33-33 at the half, but the Wildcats took over in the second half resulting in a 78-66 Kansas State win.

Coach Steve Prohm is looking for a solution this season, but still can’t find it. He’s not sure when it’ll come, but he’s going to continue to push until something sticks.

“I have not done a great job, up to this point, of building a team,” Prohm said. “Just been inconsistent. That’s the number one word for this season right now.”

Prohm said that every year there’s a new team coming in and you start from scratch as a head coach. Since it’s a new beginning each season, the biggest question at the end of the season is whether the coach built a team or not.

Prohm wants this team to understand it’s about the team, the program, the Iowa State fans, the university and the future. It’s taking small steps to reach that goal, but he’s hoping his players are starting to understand this end goal.

Senior guard and leader of the Cyclones, Donovan Jackson, made sure to explain that the fault isn’t just on Prohm, but on the entire team.

“It’s not on coach,” Jackson said. “Honestly, it’s on us as players. We got to take ownership of this team and I haven’t been doing a good job of that and [Prohm] will tell you that.”

Iowa State came into this game with an 0-7 road record this season and Prohm said that road wins come from effort and toughness and focus on winning that particular game.

The Cyclones didn’t show that toughness in the rebounding category. Kansas State had a lot of success coming from the glass early and often. The Wildcats were ranked 247th in offensive rebounding, according to KenPom, before the game.

The game started with an 8-2 rebound advantage for the Wildcats at the 14:58 mark in the first half. That rebound lead continued throughout the first half ending with a 20-14 advantage. The Wildcats also led 9-5 in offensive rebounds at the half, which allowed Kansas State to score six points.

In the end, Kansas State ended the game winning the rebound game with a 35-28 advantage. The Wildcats also finished first in the offensive rebound category with a 13-10 lead.

“[Kansas State] dominated us on the glass, absolutely dominated us,” Prohm said. “That’s just box your man out and get the ball. Have some toughness about you.”

Forward Zoran Talley Jr. used the word “effort” and how that simple word can translate a mindset and become more effective with rebounds. He also said that he needs to help Solomon Young and Cameron Lard with rebounds in the game. Talley Jr. finished with four rebounds along with Young, while Lard had a team-high eight rebounds.

Last time Iowa State played Kansas State, it was at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 29 and the Wildcats came out on top with a 91-75 score. Kansas State used a trio of players back then to propel them to victory with Dean Wade, Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes.

This time around it was another trio that took the Wildcats over the Cyclones with Wade, Brown and Xavier Sneed. They scored 22, 20 and 17 points respectively. The three scored 59 of the 78 points for Kansas State, 75.6 percent of the total points.

“What [Kansas State] does for us, they provide a lot of matchup problems for us,” Prohm said. “Then when you try to figure [how to guard Dean Wade], now you’re screwed up with Sneed.”

Wade finished last game at Hilton with 34 points and he was the focus for Iowa State’s defense coming into this matchup. He still had a game-high of 22 points, but Sneed improved his nine-point performance last time against the Cyclones with a 17-point game.

These different aspects of the game can be fixed throughout the season, but the only problem is that Iowa State doesn’t have much time. The Cyclones have four total games (two on the road and two at home) left in the regular season before the Big 12 Championship tournament.

“I want to end this year with the best possibility,” Jackson said. “I’m not here to lose games. If we can finish out and do what we need to do, I think there’s still a chance.”

Prohm said he wants to finish this season out strong, but in the end, he wants to finish out the season with a team mentality. He needs this team to play for their university, their program and their teammates.

If Iowa State can do that, Prohm thinks there’s a bright future for the last four regular season games, the Big 12 Championship and a possible postseason tournament.

“That was our slogan last year, leave your jersey in a better place,” Prohm said. “Those guys, they bought into it and when we left that locker room at the Purdue game that’s the last thing those seniors said, ‘man, we left those jerseys in a better place.’

“And that’s what it’s about, when you leave, you leave your situation better than you found it… and we’re not doing that and that bothers me more than wins and losses.”