Fast Start Leads to Disappointment

Even Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said he was a bit surprised at his team's play Tuesday night against Boston College. In front of a national television audience, ISU scored 14 of the game's first 18 points and blocked six shots showing some defensive intensity in the first nine minutes.

But Eustachy is coming to expect the valleys along with the peaks of his team. Bad defensive lapses and a frigid shooting night from Jake Sullivan made for one of the most frustrating experiences of his career as ISU suffered through an 85-78 home loss to the Golden Eagles.

"I've coached a lot of games and don't know when I've ever been more disappointed," said Eustachy, whose team fell to 5-1 this season and is set to face in-state rival Iowa Friday. "It's tremendous disappointment. I understand that our team does not know who they are. It has had a falseness to it, because of who we played and where we played them. We found out much more about ourselves tonight playing a tough opponent."

The Cyclones' struggles continued against Boston College point guard Troy Bell and the prolific backcourt he leads. Bell knocked down 9-of-16 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers on his way to his game-high 26 points. The Golden Eagles were able to stave off ISU by shooting 59 percent in the final 20 minutes.

Timely baskets on the offensive end and a few stops down the stretch were too much for the Cyclones to overcome. ISU never trailed by more than eight points in the final 12 minutes, but also wasn't able to cut the deficit to fewer than two. After its early surge to open the game, Eustachy's team never led in the final 28 minutes.

"This is one of the most disappointing games I've ever played in," said Adam Haluska, who scored 16 points to become the first freshman in school history to score in double figures through his first six games. "We knew Boston College was going to be a good team coming in. We started off 14-4 and had high expectations for the game, but they play well on the road, hit the big shots when they needed to and played the D when they needed to."

Boston College's deep backcourt was too difficult for the Cyclones to defense. Ryan Sidney and Louis Hinnant complemented Bell quite well by combining for 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

The Golden Eagles also turned to post player Craig Smith for 14 points, six rebounds and four assists.

"We played our hearts out," said point guard Tim Barnes, who faced the biggest test of his major-college career by defending the All-American Bell. "The cards just didn't play in our hand. It was a tough challenge to stop them. They're exceptional players. The flare cuts they were making and the motion offense…it's tough to guard and we kind of struggled with it a little bit. If we played them again, hopefully it would be a better game than it was today."

Every ISU starter scored in double figures, led by Jared Homan's 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting, but it still was not enough to keep pace. Homan, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, and Jackson Vroman (14 points and 12 rebounds) each posted double-doubles.

Adam Haluska was no slouch, either, and actually assumed the role as his team's go-to shooter down the stretch.

But even with their second, third and fourth options clicking, the Cyclones couldn't make up for Sullivan's cold shooting. The junior guard shot just 20 percent from the floor, including 1-of-5 from the 3-point arc on his way to 16 points.

"They were aware of him," Eustachy said. "I also think that Jake mirrored our team. His lack of making a basket showed up at the other end and our offense dictated our game. I'm not sure (what they did against Jake), he just missed shots."

Homan added his own spin on ISU's offensive output.

"We've got a couple guys hitting at different times," he said. "If we get everyone going right at the same time, we could be a very lethal team. It's nice to see other people step up when some guys are not having their greatest games."

His team will get that opportunity Friday night against Iowa. The in-state battle is set for a 7 p.m. tip in Iowa City.


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