The story for the Cyclones on Wednesday was one of defeat, but what came out stronger was frustration among fans, players and Coach Steve Prohm.
Iowa State lost to No. 1 Baylor on Wednesday by a score of 67-53 — another low-scoring affair for the Cyclones who have been looking for consistent scoring outside of sophomore guards Tyrese Haliburton and Rasir Bolton.
The offense again looked stagnant, but some things came into play that shifted the momentum of the game in Baylor's favor.
Lewis sees minutes reduction
After junior guard Terrence Lewis helped lead the comeback against No. 16 Auburn last Saturday, it felt like the Cyclones had something in him that they could use against Baylor.
Prohm didn't have those same feelings against Baylor, meaning Lewis was busy gathering dust on the bench after just a brief two minute cameo in the first half.
Instead, Prohm went to redshirt senior guard Prentiss Nixon and freshmen guards Caleb Grill and Tre Jackson to handle the duties as a small ball three.
Those three went 2-10 shooting in 50 combined minutes. Nixon was the worst of them, shooting 1-7 from the field while not connecting on any of his four three-point attempts.
Nixon has struggled since conference play started. He's averaging six points per game on 26.6 percent overall and 11.1 percent from three (3-27) in that time span.
Prohm was asked if the ankle injury that Lewis had been dealing with a couple games before factored into the decision to keep him on the bench and Prohm answered with one word: "No."
“No.” - Steve Prohm on if Terrence Lewis’ ankle injury that held him out last week led to playing two minutes tonight— Jared Stansbury (@JaredStansbury) January 30, 2020
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the second half, the Bears held a five point lead at 44-39. Redshirt junior Solomon Young ran into a Bears defender while he was looking the other way and the officials called an offensive foul sparking an argument and eventually a technical foul call against Prohm.
Baylor used that momentum shift to stage a 17-2 run and bury the Cyclones in the next few minutes. Iowa State had no answer for the offensive onslaught that followed the call.
Prohm mentioned the technical foul multiple times unprompted in his press conference after the game, citing it as a key reason why Baylor was able to grab momentum.
"We don't need to give up points, I don't need to give anybody points," Prohm said. "I think that messed us up a little bit."
It's becoming a theme for the Cyclones to give up free points when they desperately need to keep their composure — the fouls at the end of the first Baylor game and the Texas Tech game are examples — so cleaning that up will be something to watch for going forward.
Rebounding margin sinks Iowa State
Iowa State and Prohm have an affinity for the small ball lineups, and on Wednesday that was no different. Whether the Cyclones were playing small or not, it didn't seem to make a difference, with the Bears dominating on the glass no matter who Iowa State sent out there.
Baylor grabbed 39 rebounds while the Cyclones had 28. The Bears also totaled 14 offensive rebounds to Iowa State's eight, which allowed the Bears to score second chance points.
The Bears shot the ball 62 times (28-62) on the day, while Iowa State only was able to muster 50 shots (18-50).
"Baylor's a well oiled machine right now," Prohm said. "Physically tough, mentally tough, and then dudes are locked and loaded."
Iowa State falling brings its record to 9-11 on the season and 2-5 in conference play. The next challenge will be the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas, with Prohm's team looking for answers that haven't come all year.