Cyclone offense registers program-low performance

Iowa State senior Donovan Jackson celebrates after making a difficult shot plus a foul call in the second half against Tennessee. Jackson was the only Cyclone to score in double figures, tallying 13 for the game.

Aaron Marner

In the first six minutes of Iowa State’s 68-45 loss to Tennessee on Saturday, the Cyclones scored 12 points.

But games aren’t six minutes long.

Iowa State scored just 33 points over the final 34 minutes, resulting in the lowest scoring output of the season — and the fewest points at home since 1959, over a decade before Hilton Coliseum was built.

“Not much really to say, outside of it’s a bad performance,” said coach Steve Prohm. “I’ll keep it real brief.”

Iowa State shot just 17-of-51 from the floor (33.3 percent) for the game. At the free throw line, the Cyclones were a miserable 7-of-17 (41.2 percent).

Only one Cyclone — senior guard Donovan Jackson, with 13 points — scored in double figures. Jackson was asked about the team’s performance.

“Soft,” he said. “One word. That’s all it is. We played soft.”

Nothing was going in.

Jackson, Iowa State’s leading 3-point shooter, went just 2-of-8 from 3-point range. Freshman guard Lindell Wigginton went 2-of-5 from deep, but finished 3-of-13 overall from the floor. He hit just 1-of-7 free throw attempts and finished with nine points.

Jackson didn’t mince words when describing how he felt about the 23-point loss, which is one of the worst non-conference home losses in school history.

“I have no idea [why we’re playing like this],” Jackson said. “Hilton is supposed to be our safe haven. We’re disrespecting Hilton.”

Nobody had an offensive performance of which to be proud for Iowa State.

Starting point guard Nick Weiler-Babb played 29 minutes, went scoreless (0-2 shooting) and had more turnovers (three) than assists (two).

And starting in the front court, Solomon Young and Hans Brase combined for nine points on 3-of-9 shooting in 41 minutes. Neither Young nor Brase recorded an offensive rebound or an assist.

“They’re great defensively,” Prohm said of Tennessee. “We tried to keep it simple from the standpoint of what we wanted to against their ball-screen defense.

“At the end of the day you can’t go 7-for-17 [on free throws] and 4-for-17 on 3-pointers.”

There’s no explanation for a performance like that. Tennessee is ranked as the No. 11 defense in the nation by KenPom, but Iowa State has played other top defenses — such as Texas Tech’s No. 3 ranked defense, on which Iowa State scored 70 points — and played well.

There’s no easy fix, either.

Wigginton entered Saturday as a 68.4 percent free throw shooter. His six misses at the line tied a season-high, but the other time he missed six in a game, he also made nine. And 9-for-15 (60 percent) is a lot different than 1-for-7 (14 percent).

“That’s not us,” said forward Zoran Talley Jr., who finished with eight points and three rebounds off the bench. “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.”