Iowa State hopes to seize another big opportunity against No.16 Seton Hall

Head Coach Steve Prohm calls out plays during Iowa State’s 70-52 victory over Northern Illinois at Hilton Coliseum on Nov. 12.

Matt Belinson

Less than 10 days since the last meeting, Iowa State will once again take on No. 16 Seton Hall at home on Sunday in another high stakes non-conference matchup.

The last time Iowa State played against Seton Hall was in the fifth place matchup in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 29. The Cyclones lost 84-76, despite holding a 33-32 lead over the Pirates at halftime.

Rasir Bolton led the way with his team-leading 20 points. Tyrese Haliburton was right behind him with 19 points of his own. 

For Haliburton and the rest of the Cyclones, another matchup against Seton Hall presents more opportunities to succeed rather than challenges.

Haliburton said the focus of the preparation leading into this matchup is physicality. In the last matchup, Haliburton said the big-men of the Pirates scored in many different ways at a given moment, making defending them difficult. 

Haliburton said that moments like this one don’t come too often in such close proximity so early in the season—making the rematch something Haliburton wants him and his teammates to see as an opportunity to add credibility.

“It’s gonna be two great teams going at it,” Haliburton said. “They want to beat us again and we are trying to get them once so it’ll be a good game.”

The big men of Seton Hall hurt the Cyclones in more than just the points section of the boxscore, as the Cyclones were out-rebounded 40-29 last time out.

That particular stat is one head coach Steve Prohm is putting a large focus on heading into Sunday. 

Prohm said that Iowa State needs to rebound the ball better, lock in defending ball screens and making the tough play when it comes time to. The Pirates return almost everybody from its 2018 NCAA tournament team, another example for why Prohm thinks the Pirates present an even bigger threat than most.

“We aren’t gonna put in twenty new things, but we just gotta do the things we do more efficiently and do it better,” Prohm said.

Besides the physical presence Seton Hall presents for the Cyclones, an even bigger threat will be on the minds of every Cyclone on the floor when it comes to stopping Myles Powell.

Powell dropped 24 points in the last meeting between the two schools on 9-19 shooting.

Prentiss Nixon, one of Iowa State’s leading defenders, said guarding a player like Powell is a great opportunity — one he is looking forward to.

In the first half, Nixon saw the Cyclones find success in defending Powell because of the amount of times they would jump in front of screens and force Powell to drive toward the defender’s chest.

The success would end after the first half came to a close for the Cyclones.

Nixon said Iowa State did not do a good enough job of keeping the ball away from Powell in the second half—with Powell scoring 19 of his 24 points in the second half. 

“A guy like that, any type of touch he gets he is lethal with the ball,” Nixon said. “We gotta be locked in and ready to go Sunday night.”

Haliburton said that whether it is him, Nixon or anybody else guarding Powell, keeping the ball out of his hands as much as possible will be crucial.

Haliburton said he has trust in Nixon’s defense, as he usually sees it fully in practice. 

“Whoever has him has to know that you have to deny him fully, it’s gotta be scouted all week,” Haliburton said. “I don’t think anybody is gonna forget that’s Myles Powell, so there should be no excuse for leaving him open.”

Prohm said Iowa State can’t be found going under ball screens when it comes to Powell, as the Cyclones got burned on multiple occasions in the last matchup not being in position. 

In this matchup, Prohm said the Cyclones have to minimize turnovers and bad shot selection when on offense—not allowing Powell open looks on the other end.

In the end, what it all comes down to for Prohm is getting another chance to seize an opportunity—on the Cyclone’s home floor for good measure.

“We got two chances against a top-15 team that is picked to win their league and one of those chances is at home, so we gotta make due on this opportunity. We gotta produce this next week, Prohm said. 

Iowa State and No. 16 Seton Hall tip off at 8 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum on Sunday.