Iowa stops Iowa State
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY — Iowa State spent the last 61 weeks in the Top 25.
After getting crushed by Iowa, the Cyclones’ run as a ranked team is likely finished.
Peter Jok scored 23 points and the Hawkeyes upset 25th-ranked Iowa State 78-64 on Thursday night, snapping a three-game losing skid against its instate rival.
Isaiah Moss had 14 points to help the Hawkeyes (5-5), who start three freshmen, beat a Power Five opponent for this first time this season.
“I felt like we had the potential to be better than we were playing,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, whose once-reeling team lost to Nebraska-Omaha 98-89 last weekend. “What we’re able to do is grow and learn.”
Iowa shot 59 percent in the first half, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range, and jumped ahead by as much as 46-29. The Cyclones (6-3) slowly chipped away at that deficit in the second half, but a 7-0 run by the Hawkeyes after Iowa State got to 60-53 finished them off.
“We were bad,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “We lost that game in the first half.”
Matt Thomas scored 14 points to lead the Cyclones, who were just 8 of 30 from 3-point range. Ball movement was again an issue for Iowa State, which had just nine assists on 25 made baskets — although it did miss about a dozen layups.
“We have to play a certain way. We have to play with great pace. We have to play with great spacing. We have to play with great ball movement. That’s when we’re really good,” Prohm said.
THE BIG PICTURE
Iowa State: The Cyclones looked awful in the opening 20 minutes — which they closed quite fittingly with an air ball — and they couldn’t shoot their way out of trouble. Stretches like that are starting to become commonplace for Iowa State, and that’s a bad omen with Big 12 play a few weeks away.
Iowa: After getting hammered by the likes of Virginia and Notre Dame, the Hawkeyes finally put it together against a good opponent. The Hawkeyes beat Iowa State in transition and on the defensive glass, and their freshman-dominated lineup was hardly fazed in their debuts in this heated rivalry.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: Losing to one of just two Power Five teams (Oregon State) with losing records as the 25th-ranked team in America won’t look good to most voters — and that’s an understatement.
McCaffery looks like he unearthed a gem in freshman Cordell Pemsl, a three-star recruit from nearby Dubuque, Iowa that most folks didn’t think could contribute like he has right away. Pemsl is averaging 17 points in his last four games after an 11-point, five-rebound performance Thursday. “People have to respect us. We may be young, but we don’t use that as an excuse,” Pemsl said.
Deonte Burton, Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Nick Weiler-Babb all scored 10 for Iowa State. But only Weiler-Babb made at least half his shots. …Iowa had 13 assists and turnovers. …Jok also had a team-high nine rebounds. …The Cyclones like to run. But they had just four fast-break points.
Iowa’s fans delighted in finally beating their rivals again, chanting “Hawkeye State!” in the closing seconds. But despite the loss, Iowa State is much more of a potential conference and NCAA Tournament threat than the Hawkeyes, who will undoubtedly continue to have ups and down because they’re so young.
Iowa State plays Drake in Des Moines on Dec. 17. The Bulldogs are reeling after coach Ray Giacoletti abruptly resigned Tuesday less than four years into his tenure.
Iowa also will play in next weekend’s doubleheader in the state capital, facing Northern Iowa on Saturday.