On a night where Johnny Orr was honored before the game, Iowa State played their guts out on the floor tonight against an extremely talented Jayhawks team tonight. It was a game in which Kansas jumped out to a lead and never looked back. There were several times throughout the night where Iowa State would get it within one possession, but Kansas always had an answer. The way I'd describe the flow of the game is the team traded runs. Kansas got up to a 12 point lead I believe twice during the game, and both times, Iowa State was able to battle back and whittle it down the lead.
So what went wrong for the Cyclones? Nothing really. I think when you are a team playing with basically 6 guys (Railey and Bubu only got 3 minutes each), and you are able to hang in there for 40 minutes against one of the best teams in the nation, nothing went wrong. Some people would look at the Morris twins combining for for 50 points and 24 rebounds as the difference in the game. But honestly, we knew going into this it would be a battle between Iowa State's perimeter shooting and Kansas' post game.
I point the loss to turnovers and missed three pointers. Iowa State turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, and quite a few of those turnovers were unforced. The team took 32 three point attempts and only made 9 buckets. If they make 11 or 12 three pointers, it is probably a different game .There were stretches in the game where it was anybody's game for the taking, and in those crucial possessions, Iowa State put up a weak shot in traffic, turned the ball over, or missed a wide open three.
On one hand it stinks the team lost, but on the other hand, it was a ton of fun to see the team play hard and battle. This team was diving for loose balls, making heady plays. Iowa State had a lot more heart than Kansas did. Kansas just brought better players and a deeper pool of talent (they played 9 guys tonight, all of whom would be a star on Iowa State).
Individually, Diante Garrett had a good game. He shot 11-25 from the floor, lead the team with 27 points. I'll take 44% shooting from a point guard who shot 10 threes during the game anytime. On one hand, he had a couple runners in the lane in which if it would have gone in, but nobody can be perfect. He carried the team tonight. Vanderbeken had another nice game, scoring 19 points on 50% shooting and grabbing 8 boards.
What is hurting the team the most right now is Christopherson's injury. He just does not look the same as he did earlier in the season. He went 4 of 13 from the floor and shot only 1-5 from three point land. He played the entire game, and played good perimeter defense, but it is too bad he is not 100%. I really believe that if Iowa State had a healthy Christopherson and/or one additional guy that could shoot respectably from outside, they would have won the game.
Tonight I had a blast at Hilton, and even though the Cyclones did not get a W, I'm still very proud to be a fan of this team! If they continue to play as hard as they did tonight, they are going to have a good season, and they will be very deserving of our continued support.
Cyclones face Baylor on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum at 5pm next. I can't wait!