Despite a workman-like effort by Diante Garrett (18 points), cold shooting doomed Iowa State in an attempt to win their second straight game in Manhattan as the Cyclones fell 67-55. Iowa State heads into the Big 12 Tournament as the #12 seed, waiting to see the outcomes of the Texas-Baylor and Colorado-Nebraska games before finding out their opponent in the first round.
The Cyclones came out strong (a 9-0 Kansas State start notwithstanding) as Diante Garrett scored 12 of his points in the first 10:30 of the game. Iowa State would hang around the Wildcats until late in the game, but 36.7% shooting, including an 0-9 effort from behind the arc in the second half, would doom the Cyclones. Scott Christopherson and Jamie Vanderbeken would only combine for 11 points - simply an effort that would not allow the Cyclones to win.
Kansas State took advantage of opportunities when Iowa State was forced to play Bubu Palo - the Cyclone walkon who is depended on to spell the backcourt, as Palo lost Wildcat Will Spradling numerous times on defense, either allowing Spradling to hit a three or sending him to the line. In a game as close as this one, it simply hurt the Cyclones too much to allow Spradling to get the open looks that he did.
Today's effort was just the 31st in a continuation of hardfought basketball by the Cyclones. The Clones have proven they can hang with anyone in the league, but are just fighting too hard against a combination of a lack of talent, depth and killer instinct. Winning is an attitude. Iowa State has a team full of guys that don't know how to finish a game off. Having guys like Chris Allen on the court next year should help the cause.
Iowa State goes into Wednesday's game with the worst conference record, but I guarantee that Scott Drew, Tad Boyle and Mike Anderson aren't going to be complacent going into that afternoon's game. Iowa State is capable of beating any of the three teams. Obviously, Baylor and Colorado know this after losing in Ames. Missouri would probably be the worst matchup for Iowa State, but the game was close in Hilton.
The 2010-2011 regular season is coming to an end, and barring some sort of miracle finish, only a game or two remain. Let's keep pulling for the Cyclones as we send Jake Anderson, Christopherson, Garrett and Vanderbeken off, and welcome Allen, Royce White, Chris Babb, Anthony Booker, John Lamb, Tyrus McGee, Tavon Sledge, Anthony Odunsi and Korie Lucious into the system. This year was a lot of fun to watch without the results we wanted. Next year, with a team at full strength and a new-look Big 12, next year should be even more fun, with games at this time next year meaning even more.