Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones blown out by Texas Tech


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State senior George Conditt IV looks to pass the ball against the Jackson State Tigers on Dec. 12.

Matt Belinson

‘Rock fight‘ part two?

While no literal rubble was thrown Tuesday night in Lubbock between No. 15 Iowa State and No. 18 Texas Tech, it was another typical Big 12 slugfest between two of the best defenses in the country.

No. 15 Iowa State fell to No. 18 Texas Tech 72-60 and dropped to 2-4 in the Big 12.

After winning their last contest against Texas Tech 51-47 Jan. 5., Iowa State ran into trouble in the second half Tuesday in multiple areas.

Tuesday’s game was Iowa State’s fifth top-25 opponent in the last six games.

Let’s get physical

No, it wasn’t a Dua Lipa song, but it was the story of the night — just how the Cyclones knew it would be.

But it was Texas Tech who managed the fight the best.

Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger set the expectation of Tuesday’s rematch with strong standards Monday to reporters, preaching a physical attack and a want-to from his team.

“I think it’s an intentionality to how we do everything, when is it time to push, when is it time to pull it out? When we go to the elbows, it’s gotta be physical. When we drive the ball, it’s got to be with physical force, toughness,” Otzelberger said Monday.

But the Red Raiders met the mark throughout the night, while the Cyclones’ forwards got caught in foul trouble and struggled to do their part on the glass.

George Conditt was called for his first personal foul 30 seconds into the night. He’d foul out with over 9 minutes left. Aljaz Kunc played just 2 minutes in the first half but picked up three fouls before halftime. He’d foul out with 6 minutes left to play.

Oh, and Robert Jones fouled out 20 seconds after Kunc.

The foul trouble was the story of the night.

The Cyclones finished with more personal fouls than made baskets, with their main scorers struggling to find a groove and couldn’t match the size of the Red Raiders’ front line.

And with how Texas Tech bites down on defense, the Cyclones faced a 22-point deficit with 6 minutes left.

Texas Tech outscored the Cyclones in the paint 28-24 Tuesday after doing the same 28-6 Jan. 5.

But the start of the game seemed to be in Iowa State’s favor, at least on the boards.

Iowa State led 14-12 in points in the paint at the half, including 6-4 in offensive rebounding. But it didn’t last.

The mystery of Iowa State’s three-point shooting

Coming into Tuesday, Iowa State was shooting 41 percent from three over its last three games.

And yet, Tuesday’s result from the three-point line wasn’t that out of character for the Cyclones.

Iowa State shot 4-24 from deep in Lubbock, including 1-10 in the first half. But Tuesday was the 10th time in the Cyclones’ 18 games they’ve shot under 35 percent from three.

It was the fourth game under 20 percent from deep as well.

But Tuesday’s bad night from three came after Gabe Kalscheur’s two-game tear from a distance. The Minnesota transfer scored 22 points, including 6-12 from three, Saturday in a win over Texas.

Against Texas Tech, he shot 3-11 from the field and 1-6 from three.

Texas Tech makes another statement

The Red Raiders have beaten Kansas, Baylor and Iowa State. Not a bad start to conference play.

Texas Tech boasted a top-10 scoring defense coming into Tuesday night, along with the Big 12’s best field goal defense — holding opponents to 37.8 percent from the field.

With three top-25 wins in the Big 12, the Red Raiders have set themselves up for high expectations going forward.

The Cyclones haven’t swept Texas Tech in a season since 2016-17 for a reason, and Iowa State got another reminder of why in Lubbock.