Iowa State looks to step up on its defense against Northern Illinois


Grant Tetmeyer/Iowa State Daily

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon pushes up the court with junior forward Solomon Young during Iowa State’s 110-74 victory over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils on Tuesday at Hilton Coliseum.

Matt Belinson

After opening its season with a 1-1 record, Iowa State heads back to Hilton on Tuesday night with a matchup against the Northern Illinois Huskies.

Iowa State returns from a road stint in Corvallis, Oregon, against the Oregon State Beavers — an 80-74 loss.

The Cyclones got 16 points from transfer Rasir Bolton and Tyrese Haliburton followed right behind with a 15 point and 12 assist performance. 

Scoring wasn’t the issue for the Cyclones in its loss to Oregon State — rather, the defense proved to be costly down the stretch.

Iowa State allowed the Beavers to shoot close to 57 percent from three and 50 percent overall.

Head coach Steve Prohm saw a lack of detail and agressiveness form the Cyclone defense throughout the game.

“We weren’t good enough, we weren’t ready to go in that game,” Prohm said. 

Prohm said the details for the Cyclones were not executed and the defense did not hold for forty minutes — leading to a close defeat.

Prohm said Tres Tinkle of Oregon State caused problems from start to finish for Iowa State and a lack of communication on the Cyclones’ end led to Trinkle hitting two back to back threes to seal a victory for the Beavers.

Tinkle ended with 27 points and 11 rebounds.

“Give him credit, we lost him and he made us pay the last two possessions,” Prohm said.

A player that brought plenty of defense in Iowa State’s loss was sophomore George Conditt. Conditt scored a career high 14 points on 6-7 shooting. He also grabbed six rebounds and five blocks.

For Conditt, the issues on defense are coming from the fact that Iowa State has allowed two plus-twenty scorers in both games to open the season.

Conditt said numbers like that can’t continue as the season moves forward.

“We gotta be more focused in on the defensive side, we can’t just let one person go off each game,” Conditt said. “Back to back games where one person goes off and that can’t keep happening.”

Another expected leader for the Cyclones on the defensive end of the floor is Prentiss Nixon. Nixon — who opened his season with five steals and a charge against Mississippi Valley State — said the Cyclones can’t afford to have any lapses in communication on defense.

Nixon guarded Tinkle on both three pointers and said he feels beat up over the lapse in position he had on Tinkle’s first three pointer.

“I know I could have been better on the defensive side of the ball but it’s a learning tool,” Nixon said. “With guys like that, you can’t let them get an inch.”

Nixon said that Iowa State is smaller than a lot of teams on the schedule and with the group also being so young, time will be on the side of Iowa State.

Nixon said that to go on the road against an experienced Pac 12 team like Oregon State could pay off down the stretch of the long season ahead for the Cyclones. 

With Iowa State entering just its third game of the season, time will tell if the Cyclones can adjust and find its defensive identity.

However, Prohm said the time is now for Iowa State to become the defensive team it needs to be.

“We’ve gotta find a way to be a good defensive team — this team, this year right now in this moment we gotta be a good defensive team,” Prohm said. “That’s gonna be the biggest key for this team.”