Cyclones Move to 4-0 - Gophers on the Horizon

Workmanlike victories are becoming a bit of a constant for the Iowa State MBB team as the Cyclones pulled out another close game on Sunday with a 57-49 win over Norfolk State of the MEAC. Get the details here at

Iowa State's 57-49 win over Norfolk State on Sunday wasn't pretty to say the least, but Iowa State is still 4-0 as they will head up to play Minnesota of the Big Ten conference in their first big test of the season on Tuesday.


Why was the win on Sunday so ugly? Well according to head coach Greg McDermott, the Cyclones had a sluggish week of practice leading up to the game.


"Unfortunately, we played an awful lot like we practiced last week. We didn't approach the last two days with the urgency that we probably needed to. Not surprising to me, we played like we practiced. We had some guys making some good plays and some guys making some crazy plays. Hopefully we'll get there over time," McDermott said after the game.


The Cyclones didn't take care of the basketball on Sunday. Iowa State's leading scorer on the season, Mike Taylor had 11 turnovers on the game and only eight points.


"He gets himself in trouble and once you get in trouble more often then not when you try to get out of it, something good's not going to happen," McDermott said. "He does a lot for our team, he can make plays and his energy is as good as there is on this team."


The lone bright spot for the Cyclones on Sunday was the play of true freshman Wesley Johnson. Johnson had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.


"Wesley gave a great effort. He's active on the offensive glass. We need him to be a better defensive rebounder shot selection was better. A lot of people don't really notice the inbound points, to me they're like scoring points on special teams," McDermott said.


Johnson put part of his success on the play or Norfolk State.


"They wouldn't put a body on me, so I got to the boards easier," Johnson said.


Regardless of how it has been done, this youthful Cyclone team is 4-0 and that's mainly because of defense.


"I think we believe in our defense and I honestly think we could win games on the defensive end of the floor and that's a good first step for us as a program," McDermott said.


With all of that positivism on the defensive side of the ball, comes some much needed work offensively.


"I'm not sure we understand how sharp you have to be offensively and to protect the ball on every possession. That's been our biggest Achilles' heel. We don't value the ball enough. We'll reach a point where those turnovers will be converted into points and when that day comes, it won't be good," McDermott said.


Up next for the Cyclones is the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Tuesday night in Williams Arena in Minnesota. Minnesota is currently 2-0 with wins over North Dakota State (63-49) and Long Island (70-54).


Is this Cyclone team ready to finally play some big time competition? It depends on who you ask.


"I don't think we're ready but we'll learn a lot about ourselves. Some teams have a hard time changing their behavior when they're winning and we'll find out if we're tough enough to go on the road. Minnesota has a big, physical frontline and even frontline players that haven't had a great year have had success against us. We're still searching for the one guy who can do it consistently for us," McDermott said.


Iowa State point guard Corey McIntosh doesn't agree.


"We are ready to play anybody. Whoever we play, we will come out and give it our best," McIntosh said.


Tuesday's game tips off at 7 p.m.






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