New Cyclones men’s basketball team, but with players very familiar to the Hawkeyes

Big Ten transfers Izaiah Brockington and Gabe Kalscheur propelled Iowa opponent on Thursday to 8-0

New Cyclones men's basketball team, but with players very familiar to the Hawkeyes

Iowa goalie Jordan Bohannon (3) writes a message on one of his shoes before leaving them on the free throw line at the Iowa State Hilton Coliseum after the Hawkeyes’ 84-68 win over the Cyclones December 12, 2019 (Jim Slosiarek / The Gazette)

“To ISU: Thanks for memz. “

That’s what Jordan Bohannon wrote on the shoes he left on the floor of the Hilton Coliseum two December, adding his initials and jersey number.

“I’m not going to be back in this place,” Bohannon said after the Hawkeyes broke their 8-game losing streak at Hilton with an 84-68 victory over Iowa State. “It’s something the Iowa fans can hold onto for a bit.”

It’s something Iowa State fans have held onto for two years.

By the way, the shoes were immediately sent back to the Iowa locker room and – wait, what? – is there a real basketball game on Thursday night to be discussed here?

Yes, and an interesting one at that. Sixth-year Bohannon and a crowd at the Hilton Coliseum who will try to torment him are likely the subplot.

The main story would appear to be Iowa (7-2) trying to recover from two Big Ten losses last week to put the first spot on the 8-0 record, No. 17 Cyclones.

Iowa State was 12-20 this season, 2-24 last season. Now it’s TJ Otzelberger team, brand new and yet familiar to the Hawkeyes. They faced Cyclone’s top scorer Izai Brockington three times and shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur five times. The first was transferred here from Penn State, the second from Minnesota.

Transfers from Kansas, Washington State and Denver are also part of Otzelberger’s 9-player rotation. Guard too Caleb Grill, who started his career in Iowa State, transferred to UNLV to play for Otzelberger, then followed him to Ames.

It’s college basketball in 2021, and it has worked really well so far for Iowa State this season.

“It’s by no means easy to do,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery of quickly forming a group of players into a team capable of defeating pedigree programs Xavier, Memphis and Creighton.

“It’s a group of veterans. They have very good players. They really bought into the defensive concepts (of Otzelberger).

The Cyclones steal the ball. They average 10.3 sweeps, tied for 13th in the country. Six-foot freshman Tyrese Hunter is averaging 2.8 points with 11.6 points and 5.4 assists.

Iowa’s last two enemies, Purdue and Illinois, were very big, so bad matches for the Hawkeyes. Iowa State is a ranger team, with three of them starting. His best rebounder at 7.5 per game is 6-foot-4 Brockington, who is also averaging 16 points.

Brockington scored 23 points against Iowa in a Penn State victory over the Hawkeyes in his hometown of Philadelphia two seasons ago, so McCaffery knows him all too well.

Speaking of old vets, Bohannon will try to bounce back after being choked in games at Purdue and Illinois. He totaled 8 points and didn’t score 3 points in either game, with just three tries.

Meanwhile, second-year guard Tony Perkins came off the bench to score 14 and 16 points, respectively, against the Boilermakers and Illini, and was integral to the big second-half trades in both games.

Bohannon, said McCaffery, “will always have the green light. We have to do a better job of freeing him, finding opportunities for him to shoot.

“I don’t want to put it on him. I think we have to take it upon ourselves to shoot him and find openings for him. “

You will know when Bohannon gets the ball in this game. The sound of the Hilton jet plane will intensify into the sound of a rocket launch. It won’t be hot.

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