Iowa State Recap
Well, last night was as methodical, fundamental and as business-like as you could have ever hoped to see from the Aggies. They got on top of the Cyclones early and often en route to a dominating 73-49 victory.
From the opening tip they came out and executed to perfection for the first 8 minutes of the game. Behind 10 early points from Joe Jones (including a nasty backside dunk on a great feed from Acie Law), the Aggies jumped out to a quick 23-8 lead. Their execution on both ends of the floor was as sharp and as crisp as we have seen all year.
The difference between how the team started against Oklahoma relative to their start against Iowa State was night and day.
It was very evident that Gillispie had his boys ready to go and did everything in his power to have them focused and ready to play against Iowa State and only Iowa State.
When asked if this is what his team needed in order to get ready for Kansas, Gillispie said, “We needed this so that we can have a chance to beat Iowa State. That's the most important thing. If you are an immature team, this is the perfect trap game. I'm proud of the team because of the way they approached the game."
This was the first time in quite a few games that Coach has sounded so positive and upbeat after a game – their effort all night long was that good.
OK – real quick – a couple more things that stood out from the game.
From the point where the Aggies got out to their 23-8 lead, they went stagnant for a spell where neither team scored for just over 4 minutes. Joe Jones broke the scoring drought to put the Aggies up by 17 at 25-8.
From that point on, the Cyclones finally settled in to a little bit of a rhythm, and the teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half. As the two groups headed to the locker rooms, the game stood at 39-23 Aggies.
The only other thing that stood out in the first half was Josh Carter knocking down a couple of 3 pointers. Josh looked much better again last night and was a bit more assertive in mixing in both some looks from the outside and taking the ball to the basket off the dribble. All of that said, I still wish Josh would shoot it more than 6 times a game.
The second half was rather uneventful outside of continued solid play from the Aggies. Their continued sharp play on both ends of the floor saw them push their lead to as many as 29 points at 70-41.
The only real thing that stood out in the second frame, besides the fact that 18 guys saw time last night, was that it was very clear Gillispie was working on a couple of different things in what I assume was continued preparation for Saturday night.
For example, when you are up 21 points with 11 minutes left against a group from Iowa State that is clearly overmatched, why would you all of the sudden start about 5 possessions in a row where you run a full court trapping press with your starters in the game?
There was also about a three minute stretch in the second half where he was working with Jones, Kavaliauskas and Davis all in the game at the same time. I wonder if we will see a similar set on Saturday night in an effort to match up with Kansas’ big men on the interior.
It might have all just been coincidence, but I found it intriguing at a minimum.
The other aside from the blowout was that no starter played more than 30 minutes, so it was good to see them get in, handle their business, and not have to work overly hard in getting there.
With regards to other individual performances beyond Joe’s big night (21 points 5 rebounds), I thought the five starters all played very very well - - Acie finished with 13 points and 7 assists - - Antanas had 13 points and 7 rebounds - - Josh had 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting behind the arc - - DK did what he does best and that is to play solid perimeter defense, but he did manage to knock down a three and add 4 assists.
- Iowa State’s Wesley Johnson is going to be a stud. The 6’7” freshman from Corsicana is silky smooth and has a ton of game.
- Martellus was there doing his usual thing – kissing babies and shaking hands.
- 49 points and 30.9% field goal shooting were both season lows for Iowa State.
- The Aggies had 22 assists on 25 made baskets - - they continue to do a great job of getting each other involved.
- A&M has won 20 in a row at home including 9 straight Big 12 games.
- Josh Carter continues to lead the league in three-point field goal percentage at 51% (52 makes on 102 attempts).
- If you want to stand in the aisle and talk to one of your friends that you have not seen in a while, please make sure you don’t do it when old army is trying to watch the Dance Team at halftime. This makes them angry and they ask you to move out of their way.
- If after you move out of the way of the dirty old man that loves to watch the dance team you still want to stand in the aisle and talk to one of your friends that you have not seen in a while, please make sure you don’t do it when another old army grump is trying to watch the Aggie Wranglers at halftime. This makes them even angrier and they ask you to move out of their way with a very unpleasant tone.
- Do not forget that the Aggies will be featured on ABC’s program “Free Ticket: Inside College Basketball” on Saturday at 2:00
- So many students showed up last night (6,000+) to camp out for Texas tickets (4,200 tickets are held back for Students) that they ended up canceling the ticket pull all together. As I am writing this the Athletic Department still has not formulated an alternative solution.
Well – this is what it all comes down to – 6 straight games that will decide whether or not this group of guys has what it takes to win the league and make a deep run into March.
The mayhem starts Saturday night with the Big 12 Game of the Year when the Aggies travel to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the mighty Jayhawks.
The game is on ESPN-HD at 8:00 on Saturday night.
ESPN College Gameday will be there as well and will broadcast live from Allen Fieldhouse at 10:00 AM, 7:00 PM and all day on Sportscenter. The Aggies and Jayhawks will be at the center of the college basketball universe on Saturday and it should be a ton of fun.
I will have a full preview out hopefully by Friday evening, but for sure by mid-morning on Saturday.