AMES — Iowa State couldn’t have opened the Big 12 Conference men’s basketball season much better.
The 20th-ranked Cyclones (12-4, 2-2) won on the road against Oklahoma State and trounced then-No. 6 Kansas.
Since then, Iowa State has seen two more potential wins slip away at the end, including a 58-57 defeat to Kansas State Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones were up five points with three minutes to go, but failed to close out the game.
Kansas State guard Barry Brown hit two free throws with 16 seconds left and a made layup with five seconds left for the one-point lead. After Brown’s layup, Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton dribbled up the court and threw up a prayer with two seconds left in the game that was off line.
Wigginton also missed the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left in the game.
Before that, with 41 seconds left, Nick Weiler-Babb was wide open in the corner for a 3-pointer, which he missed.
“We got a great look up three with 40 seconds to go,” Coach Steve Prohm said. “We missed it. With five seconds left, I don’t want to call a timeout and go the length of the floor against their set defense. I want to get the floor spaced and you can dribble at least five times in that time.
“Our attention to detail in those situations, that comes from practice. Wigginton probably could’ve gotten another couple of dribbles and got down in the paint because they’re not going to foul and the floor is spread. That’s something we have to continue to work on.”
Throughout the entire afternoon, Iowa State’s offense was hit and miss. The Cyclones went on scoring droughts that lasted five minutes and went on two-to-three minute runs that put them right back in the game or in the lead.
“We lost a little focus late in the first half,” Weiler-Babb said. “They made a little run and we put our heads down and let it get to us. They were tougher than us in spots. We have to be tougher and give better effort.”
Weiler-Babb was the only Cyclone in double figures on Saturday. He had 11 points on 3-for-8 shooting, five assists and four rebounds.
One of the lone bright spots for Iowa State was freshman big man George Conditt.
Prohm announced after the game that Iowa State will pursue a medical redshirt for junior Solomon Young after Young’s off-season groin surgery. That gave Conditt an opportunity and he shined.
He scored nine points on 4-for-4 shooing in 15 minutes and had four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. He had the highest plus-minus rating of any Iowa State player at plus-7.
“He played great,” Prohm said. “He was terrific for us.”
Conditt was happy with the way he played.
“It builds my confidence,” Conditt said. “It shows me that I can do a lot. But at the same time, (the loss) humbles me. It makes me want to keep going and keep getting better.”
So, after those early wins, the Cyclones now need to prove they can turn it around.
“You can analyze all you want, we just have to get better,” Prohm said.
Kansas St. 58, Iowa St. 57
KANSAS ST. (12-4) — Sneed 1-3 1-2 3, Mawien 3-6 1-2 7, Wade 1-5 0-0 2, Brown 9-20 3-4 23, Stokes 3-13 3-3 12, Stockard 1-2 1-1 3, Diarra 2-4 2-2 8, McGuirl 0-2 0-0 0, Neal-Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 11-14 58.
IOWA ST. (12-4) — Jacobson 3-7 2-2 8, Shayok 4-9 0-0 9, Weiler-Babb 3-8 2-4 11, Horton-Tucker 3-8 0-0 8, Haliburton 2-5 0-0 6, Talley 0-0 0-0 0, Conditt 4-4 1-2 9, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Wigginton 2-8 1-4 6. Totals 21-50 6-12 57.
Halftime — Kansas St. 35-26. 3-point goals — Kansas St. 7-22 (Stokes 3-9, Diarra 2-3, Brown 2-6, McGuirl 0-1, Mawien 0-1, Sneed 0-2), Iowa St. 9-24 (Weiler-Babb 3-7, Horton-Tucker 2-4, Haliburton 2-5, Shayok 1-3, Wigginton 1-3, Jacobson 0-2). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — Kansas St. 34 (Wade 9), Iowa St. 24 (Wigginton 5). Assists — Kansas St. 12 (Brown, Stokes 4), Iowa St. 15 (Haliburton 6). Total fouls — Kansas St. 16, Iowa St. 13. A — 14,384 (14,384).