Ames, Iowa—- Iowa State looks very impressive in the first couple weeks of the 2022-23 campaign.
Jaren Holmes scored 19 points and Caleb Grill scored 11 points to help the Cyclones improved to 3-0 with a 68-53 victory Sunday evening over Milwaukee at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones (3-0) never trailed playing in their third home game of the season. Aljaz Kunc and reserve Robert Jones each scored 10 points for Iowa State.
Kunc’s 3-pointer 12:42 before the break gave the Cyclones an 18-8 lead. The Panthers rallied with an 11-6 run and got within 24-19 when Jalen Johnson made two foul shots from the charity stripe, but Iowa State closed the half with a 13-7 run and led 37-26 at halftime. Iowa State led by double figures throughout the second half.
“When you can set the tone that way, it should lead to good things,” Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “We need to be that team defensively, that we’re highly disruptive.
Iowa State ranked No. 1 nationally in turnover percentage entering the game, and they forced 27 turnovers from the Panthers. Milwaukee turned it over on the first five possessions of the game.
Despite struggling from beyond the 3-point arc shooting 6 for 28, Iowa State was 20-for-39 shooting inside the arc.
Iowa State’s three victories to start the season have come with an average margin of victory of 29 points as overpowered their competition. That situation will change this week as the Cyclones head to Oregon to participate in the Phil Knight Invitational, beginning with a matchup Thursday against Villanova.
Freshman Demarion Watson had eight boards in 21 minutes.
Iowa State have put up a lot of points in each of their three contests, but that’s not enough to ease the fears that this team will be offensively challenged. Again, putting points up is better than their offense being stagnant, but it may not be evidence of anything other than how poor their early-season competition was.
Missing all 14 of their attempts from downtown in the second half isn’t exactly encouraging in that department.
“Our guys work hard,” Otzelberger said. “They’re going to make shots.”
BJ Freeman scored 11 for Milwaukee (2-2).
More likely, Iowa State is going to have to find ways to win games when it doesn’t shoot the ball well, particularly from distance. Certainly one effective way to do that is to create turnovers like it did against Milwaukee.
Iowa State will travel to Dallas, Texas and play the #4 TCU Horned Frogs on Nov 26 for a 4:00 P.M. start time.