The Iowa State Cyclones blew out Iowa, 73-53, in the annual Cy-Hawk rivalry game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday night.
With the victory, the No. 17 Cyclone men (9-0) finished off a sweep of Iowa in the Cy-Hawk. On Wednesday night, the Iowa State women defeated Iowa, 77-70, also at Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State’s defense defined the night, as the Cyclones were up by as much 24 points because their defense rendered Iowa’s high-octane offense nearly inert. The defensive performance was their most impressive of the season.
Iowa State lost to Iowa, 105-77, last year. Thursday’s 20-point margin of victory was Iowa State’s largest in the series.
Izaiah Brockington led the way for the Cyclones with 29 points, missing his career high by one point. Tyrese Hunter nearly had a triple-double, with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Jordan Bohannon led Iowa (7-3) with 17 points.
Here are three key takeaways from Thursday’s game.
This is my fifth year covering Big 12 basketball for Heartland College Sports. In that time, I’m not sure I’ve seen a more single-minded defensive performance than the one I saw out of Iowa State on Thursday. It was devastating, destructive and disruptive with no let up at all.
Iowa is a high-level offensive team, one of the best in the country. Consider:
Iowa entered the game averaged 90 points per game. Iowa State held the Hawkeyes to 53 points.
Iowa’s Keegan Murray was the nation’s leading scorer going into the game (23.9 points per game). Murray missed his first 10 shots and ended up with nine points.
Iowa averages just eight turnovers per game. Iowa State forced them into 12 turnovers.
Iowa shoots 49 percent from the floor. The Cyclones held them to 27 percent.
Iowa State outrebounded Iowa, 50-32.
This wasn’t an off-night for Iowa. The Cyclones CREATED this off-night for the Hawkeyes. Head coach T.J. Otzelberger has the Cyclones completely bought in.
Iowa State’s defense is its ticket to being competitive in the Big 12 and making postseason action beyond the Big 12 Tournament. The Cyclones should be considered a potential NCAA Tournament team.
Trust in Brockington
Izaiah Brockington is going to be the second Penn State transfer in consecutive years to lead the Cyclones in scoring. Last year, it was Rasir Bolton (who is now at Gonzaga). I won’t say that Brockington is a better player than Bolton. But, Brockington looks like a better fit for this team. T.J. Otzelberger is demanding that every player compete hard on the defensive end, hoping that it fuels the team’s offense.
It’s doing that for Brockington, who had a huge night for the Cyclones. He scored 29 points. But it wasn’t just the scoring. He made his first nine shots of the game and he ended up shooting 11-of-14, including 3-of-5 from the 3-point line and 4-of-6 at the free throw line. Brockington might not have a better shooting line all season. Oh, and just for good measure, he had eight rebounds and two steals.
Brockington is one of three players in the Big 12 averaging at least 16 points and seven rebounds per game.
It is a stretch to say that Brockington could end up being the Big 12 Player of the Year? Maybe. Big 12 Newcomer of the Year? He’s starting to look like the leading candidate, and it’s a crowded field with all of the great transfers in this conference. Brockington is distinguishing himself and doing it within the system Otz is creating.
Cyclones should be undefeated come January
I wrote my three takes about Week 4 on Monday and in that piece I did the math on recalibrating our expectations for Iowa State this season. I made the point that if the Cyclones beat Iowa, there wasn’t much standing in the way of the Cyclones going into Big 12 play with a 12-0 record. Well, here we are. The Cyclones have three games remaining, all at home — Jackson State, Southeastern Louisiana and Chicago State. The NET ratings for those three teams? Jackson State (236), Southeastern Louisiana (295) and Chicago State (299). Iowa State was No. 23 entering Thursday’s game.
Yeah, if the Cyclones aren’t undefeated going into the Jan. 1 Big 12 opener at home against Baylor, then the Cyclones are NOT the team we think they are.
And … Bonus Take
Look at this dunk by Iowa State’s Izaiah Brockington in the first half. Scooping that off the floor and going into a dead run for the dunk is not easy.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.