What a fun night to be at the Knapp Center! It was my first time attending an ISU game there, and it was a lot of fun to see the Cyclones win. In the past, there haven't been many opportunities to see the team play on the road for me. While this isn't a true "road" game, it was interesting to see the team play on a different floor, and to see the majority of the crowd rooting against your team.
As far as the game went, ISU was by far the better team. Lucca had his annual game of the year, as he took advantage of open looks from beyond the arc. He was 10 of 16 from 3 and finished with 32 points.
But for me, the MVP of this game might have been Diante Garrett, who finished with 6 points, 11 assists, 2 steals, and only 3 turnovers. He was so smart with the ball tonight. He knew when to distribute the ball, and he knew when to drive to try and make the team pay. In my opinion, if he doesn't play as well as he did tonight, guys like Lucca and Christopherson do not get the open looks that they got.
When watching the Cyclones tonight vs. on Sunday, the difference was like night and day. They were much more crisp with their passes, played less one-on-one basketball (23 assists as a team), and took advantage of what the defenses gave them. Early on, Drake was able to take Brackins out of the game, but the shoot outside shooting from Lucca and Christopherson, opened up the inside for Brackins who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
I also thought Jamie Vanderbeken did a great job staying in the post, scoring all of his points in the paint and doing a nice job on the rebounding and blocking front. Often times he roams outside, and shoots 3s. He is good at that, but on a night where Hamilton was not a good matchup, and with Dendy out with injury, Brackins needs some support down low.
Drake isn't a great team, but I was still really happy with the outcome. Josh Young was definitley not himself, which is too bad, but a win is a win. Breaking this ridiculous 3 game losing streak with Drake felt good. It was also nice to see the Cyclones take advantage of mistakes, rather than being the team making the mistakes that are getting taken advantage of.
It was a fun game to go to. I mean what's NOT fun about watching your team shoot over 50% on the floor, and over 60% from beyond the arc?
If there was one thing I'd probably complain about are the ISU fans wanting the refs to call the foul on every play. Like, when we're up by 20 with 4 or 5 minutes left in the game, does it really matter whether the refs missed a particular call? Why can't we understand that they might want to keep the game going, AND the fact that we're up by so much that there's no way we're going to lose the game?
I want to be able to enjoy a win, rather than find something to complain about. After playing 3 games in 5 days, the team takes a break tomorrow, and gets back at it later in the week in preparation against Mississippi Valley State this Sunday.