No. 8 Iowa State struggles on boards, 3-point line

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm •  Published: January 17, 2014

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State got off to the best start in school history behind superb shooting and strong rebounding.

The Cyclones suddenly can't do either.

No. 8 Iowa State (14-2, 2-2 Big 12) was dominated on the glass in recent defeats to Oklahoma and Kansas, and it was even worse from beyond the arc. The Cyclones were minus-24 in rebounding and 10 of 51 from 3-point range in back-to-back losses that followed a 14-0 start.

Granted, two games are a small sample size for a team that was brilliant for two months. But improved rebounding and shooting were key points of emphasis this week ahead of Saturday's game at Texas (13-4, 2-2).

"Rebounding is more effort. So if we can get back to doing the little things, winning the 50-50 balls, I think we'll be fine," forward Georges Niang said. "The law (of averages says that) you're eventually going to make shots. So we'll just keep shooting them."

Iowa State doesn't start anyone over 6-foot-7. But it has still been a tough matchup for most teams because of the unique skills sets of players like Niang, point guard DeAndre Kane and forward Melvin Ejim.

The Sooners and Jayhawks showed that the smaller Cyclones can be vulnerable to big front lines.

Oklahoma center Ryan Spangler had 16 points and 15 rebounds — including one more offensive rebound than the entire Iowa State roster — as the Sooners handed Iowa State its first defeat, 87-82. Kansas beat the Cyclones in part because of a massive 53-36 edge in rebounding.

Freshman Andrew Wiggins had 19 boards after never grabbing more than 11 in a single game. Seven-foot center Joel Embiid had nine rebounds and shot 7 of 8 from the field, all from close range.

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