Limiting an opponent to 33 percent shooting and forcing 29 turnovers as Iowa State did Monday can’t be expected every game, Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger realizes.
Duplicating defensive fundamentals and intensity seems like a fair ask, however, as Iowa State prepares to host North Carolina A&T on Sunday in Ames, Iowa.
“We score off our defense,” Otzelberger said. “You build confidence that way. Other teams, when you weaken them and they’re not getting what they want offensively, they don’t communicate as well. They don’t defend as well. We’re certainly trying to impose our will and mentality.”
For some, the Cyclones’ 88-39, season-opening romp against IUPUI might even have been more arduous for the visiting Jaguars.
“We held them to 39 points, but after the game, everyone knew we probably could have held them to under 30 points,” Iowa State guard Caleb Grill said. “There’s a lot of things we can still improve on.”
Iowa State (1-0) will aim to keep its perimeter defense sharp. North Carolina A&T (1-1) matched a program record Monday by swishing 17 3-pointers in rolling to a 100-61 victory against Edward Waters in its season opener.
While the Aggies understandably came back to earth during a 112-71 loss at Iowa on Friday night, shooting 41.8 percent overall and 9 for 26 from deep, the Cyclones know they can’t get complacent against anyone, starting with North Carolina A&T.
Demetric Horton had a team-best five 3-pointers for North Carolina A&T on Monday, while Kam Woods drilled four. Horton set the tone again Friday, finishing 4 for 6 from long range.
Discussing the team’s offseason emphasis on 3-point shooting this week, Aggies first-year coach Phillip Shumpert said, “We’ve got some guys that can hit shots, so we must continue to try to get them open looks.”
Jaren Holmes, a St. Bonaventure transfer, paced Iowa State with 23 points Monday in his program debut. Gabe Kalscheur (16 points) and Osun Osunniyi (10) followed in double figures for the Cyclones.
–Field Level Media