Three takeaways: Cyclones have historically poor offensive game

Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm looks on as Tennessee shoots free throws during the Cyclones’ 68-45 loss.

Aaron Marner

Iowa State got shut down by Tennessee on Saturday, 68-45, in what was one of the worst offensive performances in school history.

Here are three takeaways from Iowa State’s loss.

Clones lack toughness

Iowa State knew it had a tough matchup on its hands with Tennessee coming to town.

The Volunteers are ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25 Poll, and they have one of the nation’s best defenses.

They showed just how tough you need to be to win big games.

“Soft,” said senior guard Donovan Jackson, who finished with a team-high 13 points. “One word. That’s all it is. We played soft.”

The Cyclones gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Tennessee and grabbed just eight offensive rebounds of their own. Even though Iowa State won the turnover battle, the Cyclones attempted 11 fewer field goals than Tennessee, largely because of the rebounding discrepancy.

Tennessee won the second chance points battle, 22-6.

Zoran Talley Jr. continues to impress

Redshirt junior forward Zoran Talley Jr. entered Saturday after a trio of solid games.

Talley Jr. had scored six, 11 and six points in Iowa State’s last three games after not playing in the win over Baylor.

He added a fourth-straight positive performance with his game against Tennessee.

Talley Jr. finished with eight points (3-of-5 shooting), three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 24 minutes.

“That’s not us,” Talley Jr. said. “We had good practices leading up to tonight’s game. Like coach said, we started off the first eight minutes good, hanging in with them, but then we didn’t finish out the first half.”

“And you saw the second half.”

Talley Jr. was responsible for over half of Iowa State’s 14 bench points. All eight of Talley Jr.’s points came in the second half as he tried to keep Iowa State in the game.

Starting lineup issues

Iowa State didn’t start redshirt freshman forward Cameron Lard on Saturday.

Lard, who entered the game averaging 12.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest, played 22 minutes off the bench against the Volunteers.

“That’s just between me and him,” Prohm said after the game about benching Lard.

Prohm went on to say Lard would be back in the starting lineup when Iowa State plays West Virginia on Wednesday, so it appears his vacation from the lineup will be a short one.

In the backcourt, redshirt junior point guard Nick Weiler-Babb started and played 29 minutes, but he finished with zero points, two assists and three turnovers.

Weiler-Babb exited the game twice in pain. He has been dealing with a persistent knee injury since this past summer, and it appears that was the same issue that plagued him against Tennessee.

Prohm wouldn’t say much about the extent of the injury today, but he did mention he was told in the offseason that Weiler-Babb’s lingering injury would not require surgery.

Going forward, Weiler-Babb will be needed as Iowa State doesn’t have much backcourt depth. Lindell Wigginton has been the backup point guard this season, but he is averaging fewer than three assists per game and has struggled with turnovers.

Off the bench, Terrence Lewis and Jakolby Long have struggled to earn playing time. Lewis went 0-for-2 from the floor against Tennessee in five minutes and Long did not attempt a shot in his two minutes of action.