There isn't a whole lot to talk about with this one, so I'm going to keep it relatively brief and move on to getting ready for Monday night's big game. Sound good?
Business trip. Iowa State was down multiple key players. It should have been a workman-like attitude today in Ames, as it was. Just 55 hours out from Missouri coming to town and it appears head coach Bill Self couldn't have had his troops much more focused than they were today. Iowa State put up their best effort to keep within reach in the second half, but a well-balanced attack from the Jayhawks was just too much. The streak of holding opponents under 50 percent shooting starts over today - at one (35.7 percent). In all reality, Iowa State is a bottom-third Big 12 team this year and showed very well for such a team. Holding Brackins to 5-of-13 shooting was the biggest of accomplishments, though.
Did they do it inside or out? Frontcourt - 52 points, Backcourt - 32 points. We've been calling for more from the guys in the paint. We got it.
Player of the Game: Cole Aldrich - 19 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 8-11 field goals, 3-3 free throws
What Went Right
Cole's season has finally started. Having put the loss of his grandmother behind him, Cole was quoted as saying that his season was just now starting. Well, that looked a lot more like the Mr. Aldrich we expected from the beginning of the season. Shot-altering defense with shots thrown from whence they came: Check. Inside force with good post moves on offense: Check. He really dominated at times Saturday and showed just why he was a preseason All-American and a projected lottery pick in the past and upcoming NBA drafts, respectively.
Anything and everything Jeff Withey. Raise your hand if you saw that coming Saturday from Withey. If you raised your hand, put it down. Nobody even expected him to be on the court before five minutes left in a 25+ point game. The face that coach Self went with him early in the first half says a lot about what he thinks of Withey in practice and the progress he has made. He did not disappoint once given the chance to play his first meaningful minutes of the year. He showed it all. Offensive moves early on that made Cole look bad, good position on defense and even an Aldrich-like shot throw in the waning moments of the game. That, and the fact that his more agile, away from the basketb ability type game translates well to an Aldrich-Withey duo in at the same time. It was said that couldn't work, but it showed Saturday that is not the case. Withey took pressure off of Cole and freed him up from double teams every touch. As was discussed during the Open Game Thread, he is only a redshirt freshman. Perhaps life won't be so bleak next year with the expected departure of Cole.
Marcus Morris goes all beastmode again. I'll say it once again - since his brief hiatus where he reverted back to frustrating freshman ways (six points in two games - Cornell and Tennessee), he has averaged 19.3 points per game in the last four. It's not just like he's just getting lucky rebounds right to him and scoring on easy putbacks, either. He is showing an arsenal of low post moves and off the dribble moves that are nearly unstoppable right now. Add in the amazingly soft shot at the moment and he's become a real force to be dealt with. Just keep it up, Marcus.
What Could Have Gone Better
Xavier Henry's shooting woes continue. All I'll really say about that is that at least he stopped chucking treys in the second half when it was obvious they weren't going down. Other than that, it's just frustrating. Question: At what point does Tyshawn Taylor win back his starting spot at the two guard and Brady slides to the three to start a game?
Other than that, there's not much to complain about.
Random Musings from the Boxscore
- Tyshawn - Thirteen minutes, zero turnovers. Again. No assists this time, but seven points on three-of-five shooting with a three isn't a bad line.
- Markieff Morris - four fouls in just seven minutes.
- Diante Garrett failed to score a point in 36 minutes. That's tough to do. In his defense, he did have eight assists. But, also committed five turnovers.
- Not from the boxscore, but it was just noted on the radio that C.J. Henry did not make the trip with the team. Or, at least was not seen on the bench.