By: Sam Stuve
Two games into the season and the Iowa State men’s basketball team is 2-0.
A not so pretty 2-0, a 2-0 record nonetheless.
And for the first time post-pandemic, or since the 2018-19 season really, Hilton Coliseum camealive in the Cyclones 60-50 win over the Oregon State Beavers.
“It’s really special. There’s nothing like Hilton Coliseum,” Iowa State head coach TJ Otzelbergersaid. “For me…. I start thinking of all these great games and moments and times, and we’re so grateful and thankful for our fans to be able to play in that type of home environment. It give sour guys great energy and enthusiasm. And there was some awesome moments in there tonight.”
One of the biggest difference makers in this one was the Cyclones ability to control the glass.
The Cyclones outrebounded a bigger Beavers team 39-34.
“Like I said, I’ve been here a number of years and I know that fans here appreciate toughness, competitiveness, you know, leaving it on the floor and giving your all. that’s what those young men did tonight,” Otzelberger said. “It certainly wasn’t our masterpiece, we’ve got a lot of things to get better at, but we’re hopeful that it’s it’s a team effort and as we continue to play at a high level and ultra competitive basketball with toughness and aggressiveness, that it’s going to get our fans excited.”
An example of someone who played with grit on Friday was Izaiah Brockington.
He finished with a double-double, 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“Just go get it really, if it’s up there,” Brockington said when asked about his mentality attacking the glass. “And I feel like that’s just a way that I can help us win, a way that I can always produce and that’s more about effort more than anything else.”
While it wasn’t a big difference, rebounding the ball, as well as creating some turnovers, led to easy fast break opportunities.
Iowa State dominated in the fast break points category 17-1 (how does a team score just one fast break point? Your guess is as good as mine).
While the Cyclones defense was really the big reason why they beat the Beavers, the offense got it done at times, but wasn’t consistent with it.
Not all of Iowa State’s shot were falling on Friday, but it didn’t end up hurting it in its win over Oregon State.
But no matter the misses, the offense kept attacking and it paid off, which was part of the reason that Iowa State earned a 60-50-win on Friday.
Part of this can be attributed to Oregon State mixing up defensive looks. In the first half, Oregon State was mostly in a man-to-man defense. But in the second half, the Oregon State was in a zone defense more often than not.
In this win, Iowa State’s confidence and assertiveness showed in what ended up being it’s first win over a power five school since Feb. 26, 2020.
An example of this is Tyrese Hunter, who despite having five turnovers in the contest, wasn’t shy about attacking the Oregon State defense.
He finished with nine points (4/9 from the field and 1/6 from beyond the three point line) and with a team high six assists.
“What I love about Tyrese Hunter, is he came in as a freshman, and he acted like a senior. And when you have a guy with that degree of maturity, who cares and competes every single day, like he does,” Otzelberger said. “He was 17 when he got here this summer, and he’s such a
competitor, he’s such a winner and he’s so tough. So guys like that, I’ve been fortunate to coach that have some of those same attributes and those are the type of guys that make you win a lot of games.”
In total, the Cyclones shot 43 percent from the field (25/57), 26.9 percent from the three-point line (7/26) and made three out of five free throws.
Gabe Kalsceur led all scorers with 15 points on six for 17 shooting, two of eight from the three point line and he made one of two free throw attempts.
The Cyclones radiated confidence on both sides of the ball in the way they played and in they way they talked.
Coming into this season, Oregon State was coming off of a surprise run to the Elite Eight in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Iowa State was sitting home, just having hired Otzelberger as the new head coach who was tasked with turning around a program that had just went 2-24 in the previous season.
With a largely new cast of characters, Iowa State just picked up a win that should give it a lot of confidence going forward.
And even though the Cyclones were technically favored by one point in this one, Iowa State considered themselves the underdog.
“I think it builds a lot of confidence was a no no, we were the underdogs in this game, it’s our home floor, so I mean, we took that to heart,” Guard Gabe Kalscheur said. “And we responded in a major way. We’re gonna carry this this next one’s coming up.”