No. 17 Iowa State needed a pick-me-up. A win to stem the tide, so to speak, after losing four of its previous seven games.
That’s exactly what it got on the road.
The Cyclones beat Kansas State 76-63, getting a terrific performance from Monte Morris, who scored 19 points, dished out four assists and grabbed four rebounds. Abdel Nader also had a strong performance, scoring 14. But more than the offensive success, which was substantial, it was the defense that was impressive.
Over that previous seven-game run, the Cyclones had been pretty rough defensively. The perimeter defense particularly struggled as teams just slashed through and got into the paint whenever they wanted. Things were a little bit better on Saturday when the Wildcats only shot 37 percent, including only 19 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Part of this was obviously just a down shooting night for Bruce Weber’s group — who came in shooting 29 percent from beyond the arc — but it’s at least a positive number that Steve Prohm an his staff can build upon going forward.
This team will go as far as its defense will take it. That much remains clear, and it doesn’t mean that the myriad issues plaguing it are totally fixed. After all, Kansas State isn’t exactly setting the nets ablaze with efficiency this season. But overall, getting a road win against a decent opponent is always worth something, especially when the team needed a bit of a confidence boost.
The sky is cloudy, but it’s not falling, Iowa State fans.