Slow Tempo Aids Cyclone Victory

The Iowa State men's basketball team moved to 7-3 on the season on Wednesday night as the Cyclones struggled to beat Savannah State (5-8) by a score of 70-59. Get all of the details, notes and quotes you need right here in this CN game recap.

Finals week is coming to an end, much like Iowa State's three game losing streak did on Wednesday night as the Cyclones worked hard to beat a pesky Savannah State team that is on a six game losing streak of their own.


"I'm just happy to see those guys smile again. It's been a while," Iowa State head coach Greg McDermott told the media after the game.


How They Did It


Iowa State's game plan on Wednesday night was a double-edged sword according to Greg McDermott. They slowed the ball down. That eliminated a young team's mistakes but also allowed a less talented team to hang around in the game.


"We purposely slowed the tempo in an effort to control our mistakes. When you do that and you're maybe a little more talented, it allows them to hang around," McDermott explained.


McDermott also made another big coaching move in the game. Instead of starting junior Corey McIntosh and senior Jessan Gray, McDermott went with the two freshmen Dodie Dunson and Cory Johnson.


"I'm seeing too many mistakes over and over again. If that's going to happen, it might as well happen with freshmen. They might as well get an opportunity to grow up with the lights on," McDermott said.


McDermott reiterated that starting is not that big of a deal to him as a coach.


"Who starts the game has never been important to me. It's important to players. I think it's more important who finishes," McDermott said.


Taylor Improving


Iowa State junior guard Mike Taylor led the nation in turnovers heading into the game on Wednesday averaging 6.3 per game. On Wednesday Taylor only committed one, which was with only seconds to go when he dribbled the ball off of his foot. Taylor only played five minutes in the first half, but played the entire second half where he recorded eight points and five assists.  


"It's good to see Mike Taylor get five assists and only one turnover," McDermott said.


McDermott said that his staff talked to Taylor about the turnovers this week and that he was embarrassed by his stats.


"Only two ways to go about fixing this. Either you change, or I take you out of the game," McDermott told Taylor during the week.


Not only was McDermott happy with Taylor's turnover ratio tonight, he was happy with his shot selection as well.


"The shots he missed, for the most part, were really good shots," McDermott said.


Clark is Back


Another bright spot on Wednesday night was the resurgence of Rahshon Clark's offensive play. Before Wednesday night, Clark hadn't scored more than 13 points in a game all season long. On Wednesday, Clark scored 16 points and also had eight rebounds on the night.


"We just lost three in row. As for myself, I needed to be more involved and bring more energy to the team." "I came ready to play and wanted the ball," Clark said after the game.


Gray Breaks Nose


Iowa State's lone senior Jessan Gray broke his nose late in the first half on Wednesday according to Greg McDermott after the game.


"They didn't think he'd be able to practice tomorrow," McDermott said.


McDermott also pointed out that Gray will now need a clear mask to wear while playing, which he will need to be fitted for.


This is the second injury that Gray has suffered this season. He's missed several games due to a broken wrist earlier in the season.


"It seems to be one thing after another with that front line this year," McDermott said.


Up Next


Iowa State will next play Bradley this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena in this year's Capital City Classic. The women will tip off against St. Louis at approximately 11:30 a.m.


Other Notes:


-         Freshmen Cory Johnson and Dodie Dunson got the first start of their Cyclone careers tonight. Wesley Johnson also started, meaning that three true freshmen started for the Cyclones.


-         Junior PG Corey McIntosh did not start tonight for the first time all season long, but still played 15 minutes in the first half.


-         Ross Marsden did dress for tonight's game, but did not play in it. The last game that Marsden played in was on Nov. 25 against Lake Superior State.


-         Jessan Gray left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a broken nose. No word has been given out on his condition.


-         Iowa State's leading scorer on the season Mike Taylor only played five minutes in the first half. He scored zero points in those five minutes.


-         The team will practice at 3 p.m. on Friday in the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.


-         Wesley Johnson had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the game.


-         Jiri Hubalek scored 11 points and had six rebounds.



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