AMES – No. 21 Iowa State (12-4, 2-2 Big 12) started off its conference season as good as it could’ve.
The Cyclones won on the road against Oklahoma State and trounced then-No. 6 Kansas.
Since then, Iowa State has dropped back-to-back games. In both games, the Cyclones had a chance at the end of the game to tie or take the lead.
Iowa State lost to Kansas State (12-4, 2-2 Big 12) 58-57 on Saturday in Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones were up five points with three minutes to go but failed to close out the game.
Kansas State guard Barry Brown closed the game out for the Wildcats with two free throws with 16 seconds left and a made layup with five seconds left.
After the Brown layup, Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton dribbled up court and threw up a prayer with two seconds left in the game that was off line.
Wigginton had also missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 15 seconds left in the game.
Before that, with 41 seconds left, guard Nick Weiler-Babb was wide open in the corner for a 3-pointer, which he missed.
“We got a great look up three with 40 seconds to go,” Coach Steve Prohm said. “We missed it. With five seconds left, I don’t want to call a timeout and go the length of the floor against their set defense. I want to get the floor spaced and you can dribble at least five times in that time.
“Our attention to detail in those situations, that comes from practice. Wigginton probably could’ve gotten another couple of dribbles and got down in the paint because they’re not going to foul and the floor is spread. That’s something we have to continue to work on.”
Throughout the entire afternoon, Iowa State’s offense was hit and missed. The Cyclones would go on scoring droughts that lasted five minutes and then go on two-to-three minute runs that would put them right back in the game or in the lead.
The Cyclones need to be more consistent.
“We lost a little focus late in the first half,” Weiler-Babb said. “They made a little run and we put our heads down and let it get to us. They were tougher than us in spots. We have to be tougher and give better effort.”
Weiler-Babb was the only Cyclone in double figures on Saturday. He had 11 points on 3-8 shooting, five assists and four rebounds.
Iowa State has seven players score at least six points.
One of the lone bright spots for Iowa State was freshman big man George Conditt.
Prohm announced after the game that Iowa State will pursue a medical redshirt for junior Solomon Young after Young’s off-season groin surgery.
That gave Conditt an opportunity and he shined.
He scored nine points on 4-4 shooing in 15 mintues. He also had four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. He had the highest +/- of any Iowa State player at +7 and he was in near the end of the game when Iowa State got it’s 3-point lead, but Prohm took him out in favor of the more offensively minded Jacobson to end the game.
“He played great,” Prohm said of Conditt. “He was terrific for us. I went offense for defense at the end and I probably should’ve stayed true to defense because George protects the rim.”
Conditt was happy with the way he played.
“It builds my confidence,” Conditt said. “It shows me that I can do a lot. But at the same time, (the loss) humbles me. It makes me want to keep going and keep getting better.”
Iowa State showed how good it can be against Kansas, but after two-straight losses, the Cyclones need to prove they can turn it around.
“You can analyze all you want, we just have to get better,” Prohm said.