By Anthony Hanson, KURE Sports Reporter
AMES – Iowa State is going to remember this feeling.
The Cyclones had lost five of their last six entering Monday night’s game against West Virginia but had a great opportunity to get back into the win column.
Iowa State squandered a late lead and fell to the eighth place Mountaineers 72-60. Afterwards, the post-game mood was particularly somber.
“We take a lot of pride in being a program that’s really disciple, highly competitive and makes winning plays when they’re necessary,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said after his team suffered the senior night loss.
“We do expect more from ourselves.”
Iowa State lost valuable positioning for the upcoming conference tournament on Monday night. The Cyclones are 8-9 in Big 12 play and are sixth in the conference standings with one conference game remaining.
“This one hurts,” Iowa State senior Jaren Holmes said postgame joined by fellow senior Gabe Kalscheur in disappointment after the emotionally taxing loss for the Cyclones
“We should be disappointed,” Otzelberger said. “And that disappointment should lead us to work really hard, so we don’t have to feel like that in that locker room again.”
Kalscheur made two field goals nearly four minutes apart in the second half. He made a layup with 3:55 to play and a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.
They were the only shots made for the Cyclones in a game-defining final stretch.
West Virginia scored eight unanswered points and capitalized off Iowa State’s “undisciplined” play. The Cyclones were called for costly fouls late in the game. The Mountaineers scored their final 11 points from the free throw line.
Point guard Joe Toussaint made six free throws in the game’s final four minutes. He finished with 19 points for the Mountaineers.
“Those types of things can’t happen,” Holmes said. “Especially in key moments and playing in this league,” Iowa State point guard Jaren Holmes said.
Iowa State once again made an early run and showed flashes of its explosive offense and solid defense but could not complete a full 40-minute game. West Virginia took advantage of costly scoring droughts at the end of each half by the Cyclones.
The Gabe Kalscheur get-back game
Gabe Kalscheur needed a game like this.
The senior guard counts on his shooting stroke to contribute to the Cyclone offense. In the last six games, however, the veteran Cyclone saw more than a couple cold shooting nights.
Kalscheur, who shoots 32 percent on his career from beyond the arc, had three-point shooting numbers below 22 percent in five of Iowa State’s last six games.
Against West Virginia on Monday night, Kalscheur found a taste of his signature rhythm scoring. From the opening tip, Kalscheur worked to get open by coming off screens for three-point looks attacking the rim. He scored 11 of Iowa State’s first 13 points.
But at the 10:21 mark of the first half, the physicality of Monday night’s game worked against Iowa State. Kalscheur, who regularly guards the opposing team’s best player on the perimeter, was called for his third foul. He sat for the remainder of the half.
Kalscheur absence immediately sparked a West Virginia run. The Cyclones lost the lead at the 9:21 mark and trailed by eight at halftime.
West Virginia led by as much as 11 points while Erik Stevenson and Joe Toussaint made three three-point field goals each in the opening half.
With Kalscheur back in the lineup in the second half, the guard continued his impact on the game. He scored 15 points in the second half and finished with a game-high 26 points. The Cyclones built a seven point lead in the second half.
Kalscheur offense sparked the entire Iowa State offensive system. With perimeter shots falling, Holmes found driving lanes while center Osun Osunniyi and Tre King found open looks inside. Holmes finished with 16 points and two threes while Osunniyi scored six and King tallied seven.
“We need anyone we can to make perimeter to open up the defense,” Otzleberger said. “Those guys having confidence is huge as we go forward.”
Iowa State will travel to Baylor on Saturday for the final game of the Big 12 regular season schedule. Then, March 8 or March 9 Iowa State will take the court in Kansas City for the Big 12 tournament.