A Call to the Boards

It wasn't so much what Jake Sullivan was doing with the ball, as what he did without it that got him noticed in Monday night's 85-63 victory over Jackson State. Not to be overshadowed in the guard's 23-point performance and perfect 8-for-8 shooting from the free throw line was his eight rebounds in 35 minutes of action.

Sullivan was on a mission to be a more complete player, and it paid off.

"Getting the W was the most important thing and I was glad about the eight rebounds," said Sullivan, who hit 6-of-11 shots from the field and added three assists. "Every game I come in with some type of goal and tonight was to come in and get seven rebounds. I had been doing a very poor job rebounding, and I got eight."

Now head coach Larry Eustachy wishes that Sullivan's teammates would follow his lead. The Cyclones' overall play was lackadaisical, they broke down numerous times on defense and didn't shoot that well from the field (28-of-67).

"I liked his intensity from start to finish," said Eustachy, who's team improved to 3-0 on the season. "He was trying to get five counts all the way until the end. He really defended. They tried to throw over the top and he stole the ball on the lobs. His maturity and all-business attitude-- our team needs to follow suit with him. We've got guys that don't understand.

"I know we took a step backwards, but I'm not surprised by how we played tonight. I'm disappointed, but not discouraged. It was a pretty dull effort. We just didn't bring it as a whole. When we do that, we'll be rolling the dice in winning and losing. Tonight that didn't happen, but it will take the blame. I told our team after the game that I didn't push them hard enough the last few days in practice. That's the reason for this. I'm to blame and we just need to stay after them in practice."

ISU's trio of newcomers battled through some rough spells, but Jackson Vroman, Tim Barnes and Adam Haluska each managed to score in double figures.

Vroman missed numerous shots around the basket and made 6-of-13 overall on his way to 14 points and nine rebounds. Barnes continued his efficent play running the offense, dishing out six assists while turning it over once. The JUCO transfer point guad finished with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting.

"I expect that from him," Eustachy said of Barnes' assist to turnover ratio. "Good guards are five-to-one and six-to-one, and good guards don't turn the ball over for a series of games. He's a good guard and that's what we expect from him. He doesn't nearly know how to play this game the way he needs to play, but he's probably ahead of where he should be. It doesn't surprise me, because he's a heck of a guard. But he still needs to play harder and put more of a premium on defending and who he's guarding."

Haluska started and contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.

Haluska gave a lot of credit to the Cyclones' starting backcourt of Sullivan and Barnes.

"They definitely open it up for everybody," he said. "When Jake or Tim are penetrating, there is always an open guy. We're moving the offense pretty well and it's great to have great guards like that."

ISU never trailed in its game against Jackson State, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Sullivan scored his team's final 10 points of the first half to give the Cyclones what was then their biggest lead of the game, 45-27.

Haluska eventually pushed that margin to 30 points, 78-48, with his bucket at the 6:51 mark of the second half.

Eustachy's club will host the Cyclone Challenge this weekend in Ames, opening play Friday night at 8 p.m. against Western Illinois. Binghampton and Denver play in the other semifinal matchup.

Jackson State's Cliff Walker, left, and Reggie Taylor defend against Iowa State's Marcus Jefferson. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

Adam Haluska draws the charge against Jackson State's Ryan Kennedy. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

Jackson State's Dakari Wallace, right, drives past Iowa State's Jake Sullivan. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

Jackson Vroman shoots over Ernest Hassell of Jackson State . (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

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