Cyclones Remain Winless

Although a three-game losing streak plagued the Cyclones early in Big 12 play, this one hurt a lot more. They were supposed to get back on track against Colorado in front of the Hilton faithful. Instead, ISU dropped another game to open the conference season in embarrassing fashion, 54-52.

CU (9-7, 1-4) outplayed ISU in every aspect of the game, but the biggest would turn out to be in rebounding. The 11th-ranked rebounding team in the Big 12, the Buffaloes dominated their opponent by a 54-35 margin.

That would lead to a 21-11 edge in second-chance points.

The double-overtime loss sent it to a new low under Wayne Morgan.

"You've got to give all the credit in the world to Colorado," said ISU's coach. "They came in here and played a hard game, and made plays when they had to. They were very tenacious on the boards. No question we lost on the backboards by minus-19.

"In the second half it seemed like we played decent defense, got them to miss, but they could keep on rebounding the ball until they scored. Anytime you give a team 20 second-chance points off the boards – we were probably lucky not to lose by more than we lost. I don't think we played well and we've got to work and get better."

Having already taken a deliberate half-court approach on offense, Colorado helped its cause by grabbing 22 offensive rebounds. That limited ISU's fast-break attempts and bogged down an offense built on transition baskets.

"If we had grabbed the rebound after we made them miss, it would have given us an opportunity to run," Morgan said. "Obviously, when the ball goes in they have an opportunity to set in their defense."

Despite all of their shortcomings, the Cyclones still had plenty of opportunities to put their opponent away. The Buffaloes owned a 42-37 lead with 4:46 remaining, but went scoreless the rest of regulation.

After Jared Homan's free throw tied the game with 1:09 to go, Will Blalock missed a pair of free throws that would have made the difference. ISU had a glimpse of hope in the final seconds, but a Homan layup and pair of Curtis Stinson 3-point shots missed the mark.

Overtime was not much better for the Cyclones. But instead of offensive rebounding being their downfall, it was a pair of 3-pointers that spelled defeat. Marcus Hall hit the first to give his team a 50-49 edge with 1:21 left in the extra session, then Andy Osborn provided the dagger with 13 ticks remaining.

"We wanted someone who has shown ability in the past to shoot the last shot," said CU head coach Ricardo Patton. "It was a gutsy shot; that showed a lot about his confidence."

It also served to take a lot of confidence away from a downtrodden Cyclone team.

"This is a game we could win, and to their credit they played a good game and played hard," said Cyclone guard John Neal. "It's a tough loss and guys are down. It's quiet after a loss. We've just got to try to pick it back up. There is a lot of season left and a lot of things we can still do. We can't just totally collapse and still have to play."

Neal was the only ISU player available for comment afterwards.

Stinson led the Cyclones in scoring with 15 points, but was again dreadful from the field in hitting just 6-of-19 shots. He did manage to add nine rebounds – all defensive – and five assists. Blalock added 14 points.

Colorado was paced by Glean Eddy's double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Asked whether he would take a philosophical approach with his players, or an in-your-face one, Morgan offered, ‘Probably all of the above.'

Either way the Cyclones are left gasping for air after four consecutive defeats to open the Big 12 season.

"All I can do is take it one game at a time," Morgan added. "Kansas State is our next game and we've got to try to win that game. Then we'll look at the next opponent."


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