Takeaways: The Cyclones had a lot to like on Wednesday despite their possible upset loss

George Conditt IV battles under the hoop during the Iowa State basketball game against UMKC on Dec. 4.

Zane Douglas

Through the first 35 minutes of Iowa State’s game on Wednesday, the Cyclones had trouble separating themselves, but the Cyclones used a dominant stretch at the end to win by 18 over the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Cyclones won’t be going anywhere as they host Seton Hall on Sunday with many questions and possible answers stemming from Wednesday’s game.

Rasir Bolton gets going

Sophomore guard Rasir Bolton had a lot of questions surrounding him to start the season, but after the week in the Bahamas, it looked like he put those questions to bed.

His three-point shooting came and he was taking smarter shots; however, on Wednesday, Bolton fell back into his early season form in the first half.

Zero points in the first half and multiple missed three-point attempts made it a forgettable period for Bolton, but he turned it around in the second half — scoring 19 points and getting to the foul line a whopping 11 times.

Iowa State sorely needed that production and Bolton became the key player down the stretch to pull the Cyclones away from a possible upset loss.

“I was just trying to attack,” Bolton said. “First half I was trying to find my spots and pick ’em, and then it was just all about winning.”

Bolton buried a three in the second half during Iowa State’s big run, but most of his effectiveness came off the drive and the ability to draw fouls. The 11 foul line shots — 10 of which he converted on — were the most in Bolton’s collegiate career.

Retooling down low

For most of the season, the Cyclones have generally had two lineups of front court players — Solomon Young and Michael Jacobson on the front line with George Conditt and Zion Griffin handling bench duties.

That changed against the Kangaroos on Wednesday as coach Steve Prohm messed with lineups a bit. Young only played 12 minutes while Conditt saw 17 minutes.

Young picked up four early fouls that contributed to his absence, but Conditt had a solid game as his replacement and shared some time with Jacobson on the floor. Conditt also was on the floor whenever the Cyclones had a four-guard lineup in.

Conditt’s defensive impact was on full display and he added some offense in to couple with Jacobson’s 8-9, 19-point night.

“[Conditt is] just tapping the surface,” Prohm said. “He can really really change shots at the rim, had some opportunities around the basket, really understands pick and roll. He’s just gonna get better and better.”

Rebound numbers skyrocket

Iowa State was able to out-rebound the Kangaroos on Wedesday — something the Cyclones don’t do often. They did this without Young for the majority of the game. Young is one of their best rebounders.

The uptick can be credited to a number of players, but besides Conditt, who pulled down seven boards, the guards helped out quite a bit.

Prentiss Nixon and Tyrese Haliburton each had six rebounds. Iowa State totaled 36 rebounds in the game with the Kangaroos only amassing 25.

“I thought we did a better job tonight, out-rebounding them by 11,” Jacobson said. “They kind of play a slower half-court game so there’s not gonna be a ton of possessions.”

It was an ugly game for the Cyclones until the end, but some questions were answered about the team’s identity moving forward.