Cyclones attempt to fix issues against Chicago State

Colorado’s Josh Scott (left) attempts to block out Matt Thomas on Nov. 13 in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Cyclones defeated the Buffaloes 68-62.

Ryan Young

It’s going to be a quick turnaround for the ISU men’s basketball team — but maybe that’s a good thing.

Iowa State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) will take on Chicago State (1-0, 0-0 WAC) on Monday in the Cyclones’ home opener, just three days after their season opener against Colorado.

Yes, Iowa State did walk away with a 68-62 victory over Colorado — starting off the season and the Steve Prohm era with a win.

But it wasn’t perfect. They got off to a slow start, the offense struggled early and the defense had trouble holding off Colorado throughout the game.

“Man, that was ugly,” said forward Georges Niang. “But a wise man always told me, ‘Don’t ever feel sorry for winning,’ and that wise man happens to be the coach of the Bulls.”

The Cyclones went just 2-10 behind the arc against the Buffaloes, and had 12 turnovers. They also shot only 44.6 percent from the field as a team.

There was plenty of good in the season opener, though.

Four different Cyclones scored in double figures, Niang’s 17 points leading the way. They also had strong stretches of offense — ending the first half on an 8-0 run, and then opening the second half on a 10-2 run.

And even though they had a good stretches, it wasn’t enough to satisfy the team.

“I think we can do better,” said Abdel Nader. “I was disappointed we didn’t get 80 or 90 [points].”

A big part of the Cyclones’ second half run came from Nader, whose 14 points all came in the latter 20 minutes. And while they did let the Buffaloes back into striking distance, the Cyclones were eventually able to push the game out of reach.

“It’s pretty amazing that we fought through adversity, never hung our heads, and never really gave up the lead,” Niang said.

But it’s not terribly surprising that the Cyclones struggled — it is the first game of the year under a new coach.

Forward Jameel McKay, who finished the game with eight points and 10 rebounds, said they are still just getting used to the new system.

“It’s the first game, new coach, new everything,” said Jameel McKay. “We’re still getting adjusted, but everything went good.”

But the celebration didn’t last long after the win in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Friday. There wasn’t time for it. 

“It’s a long year, and that’s why there wasn’t a super celebration in there,” Prohm said. “It was good job, and lets move on. These guys expect to win. They expect to win big games. I’m trying to follow their lead.”

Both Prohm and the entire team are ready for another chance to take the court, and right what went wrong in game one.

“I think there’s a lot of positives you can take out of this thing,” Niang said. “I think we’re pushing the ship in the right direction.”