Iowa State appeared poised to escape sole occupation of the Big 12 cellar, then collapsed down the stretch and in overtime Jan. 29.
What made it worse was the 82-76 loss came at home against one of the biggest underperformers in the conference, Oklahoma.
"You can't play a Big 12 game for 30 minutes and expect to win," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
His estimation of the time the Cyclones spent having a positive effect on the 45-minute game was probably accurate. They started slowly, then failed to finish before allowing 10 unanswered points in the overtime.
Wasted in between was a rally from a 15-point deficit Iowa State (14-8, 1-6 Big 12) dug while allowing the Sooners to hit 10 of their first 13 shots.
What has to eat at Hoiberg the most was the Sooners appeared to be the better conditioned team down the stretch. Iowa State and Oklahoma probably are the two thinnest teams in the league in terms of dependable manpower.
And the Cyclones basically let one man, Oklahoma guard Steven Pledger, beat them with 38 points.
--Iowa State seemed to be racing toward overtaking the win total (15) it managed last season, yet four consecutive losses have the Cyclones stuck on 14 wins and in last place in the Big 12 following an 82-76 overtime setback against Oklahoma on Jan. 29.
--The loss to Oklahoma was Iowa State's second in overtime in Big 12 play. The Cyclones also tumbled in OT at Oklahoma State.
BY THE NUMBERS: .260 -- Percentage Iowa State is shooting from 3-point range over the past four games, going 26 of 100 through Jan. 29. Against Oklahoma it made just 5 of 24 treys. The Cyclones lead the Big 12 with 520 attempts from behind the arc.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just went out there nonchalant like it was another game. It was the biggest game of the season for us, and we came out and didn't have any energy and that was very disappointing." -- Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg on a 92-83 homecourt loss to Texas Tech on Jan. 26.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--at Colorado, Feb. 1
KEY MATCHUPS: The Cyclones like to play at a fast tempo so this could be an up-and-down game since Buffaloes first-year coach Tad Boyle demands that kind of pace. Containing the dribble penetration of G Cory Higgins and G Alex Burks is a challenge the Buffs present. Both are as good at converting drives as any players in the Big 12.
--vs. Kansas State, Feb. 5
KEY MATCHUPS: With the Wildcats struggling to find any offensive consistency all season, this is a matchup the Cyclones can win with lesser talent. Feeding off a home crowd is important, as well as limiting second-shot opportunities considering Kansas State is adept at crashing the offensive glass.
FUTURES MARKET: Lack of depth could be taking a toll on the Cyclones, particularly with two overtime defeats in Big 12 play. One nice development has been offensive diversity, at least as it relates to scoring balance. This makes it more difficult to defend Iowa State, which is not as prone to long droughts offensively as in past seasons. G Melvin Ejim is one of the better freshmen in the conference and is capable of attacking the boards and converting second-chance opportunities.
--Freshman G Melvin Ejim was left out of the starting lineup for the first time all season in the Jan. 29 loss to Oklahoma. Ejim paced the Cyclones with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
--Senior G Diante Garrett spent the last eight minutes of the first half against Oklahoma on the bench with three fouls. He still managed 18 points over 37 minutes, but had five turnovers against four assists.
--Senior G Jake Anderson joined Ejim in furnishing a double-double against Oklahoma with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Anderson has 70 points and 33 rebounds over the last four games through Jan. 29.