MANHATTAN, KAN. — With the lead slowly slipping and the offense stagnant, Iowa State again found itself wedged against adversity when Steve Prohm had finally seen enough and signaled the nearby official.
A once 13-point lead had dwindled to just five in a matter of just more than two minutes and Prohm had a feeling what might be coming next. The eerily similar feel at the Octagon of Doom had, in recent days, become rather familiar.
It was a 78-second offensive spurt that doomed Iowa State against Baylor one week earlier and a 16-2 run in nearly four minutes to end the first half against Texas on Tuesday that sent the Cyclones to two-straight Big 12 losses.
This time, Prohm wasn’t waiting.
“They had played so well,” Prohm said of his timeout with 9:35 remaining Saturday. “You don’t want to play so well and just lose it.”
Kansas State had trimmed Iowa State’s 13-point lead down to five with an 8-0 run in 2 minutes, 18 seconds when Prohm halted play. Fifteen seconds later Georges Niang drilled a 3-pointer before Monte Morris connected with Jameel McKay on an alley-oop and Abdel Nader eventually drove the lane for a score.
With a 77-second burst, Iowa State scored seven-straight and never looked back in a 76-63 victory against Kansas State, its first win in Manhattan since 2012.
“When we’re like this, like a fist, I don’t think anybody can beat us and when we focus I feel like we play well and we responded well to adversity,” said Morris, who scored 19. “We know how to win and we got a win on the road.”
The adversity preceded Iowa State’s trip to the Octagon of Doom when guard Hallice Cooke was served with a one-game suspension for violating team rules. That loss was hardly apparent when Iowa State used a 24-3 first-half run to take a game-high 17-point lead on the Wildcats.
Jordan Ashton emerged in the rotation, playing 13 of his 19 minutes in the first half, appearing for the duration of the Iowa State run in which Kansas State went scoreless for nearly eight minutes as the Cyclones used a 2-3 zone.
That was one of multiple changes Iowa State made ahead of Saturday’s contest, one critical to redirecting a team that had of late steered off-track.
“Bad coaching is when you’re stubborn and you refuse to change and you refuse to do things differently,” Prohm said. “I’ve finally got to kind of be me, so I met with the team and told them, ‘Hey, I’ve got to be me. This is who I am, this is what I’m about.’ I want to fit in, but I want to do things the way I want to do them.”
That started with defeating adversity.
"The biggest thing is we really just had guys step up," said Georges Niang, who scored 15. "Coach was asking us how we were going to act when our back is up against the wall and we responded."