Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma State’

Christopherson not letting mono slow him down

February 23, 2010

AMES — Scott Christopherson’s body is saying one thing. His mind is telling him another. 

The Iowa State guard continues to play hard while fighting off mononucleosis. Christopherson hasn’t been the same since contracting the virus early in the Big 12 season, but has refused to give in mentally.

“I don’t want to be sick and I’m not going to tell myself I am,” Christopherson said recently. “Am I 100 percent? No. But I’m going to go into every game thinking I am because there’s no point in not… Everybody is fatigued and their knees hurt and their body aches. As far as I’m concerned I’m just like everybody else.”

Christopherson scored a career-best 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting last week in a loss to Oklahoma State.

He’s taking one for his short-handed team, which is down to eight scholarship players going into Wednesday night’s game agianst Nebraska at Hilton Coliseum.

Christopherson again will likely log 30-plus minutes for the Cyclones, who come in with an overall mark of 13-14 and 2-10 in league games.

“The effort he’s giving when he shouldn’t really be playing is incredible,” said Coach Greg McDermott. “There aren’t many guys that would play through what he’s playing through. Somehow he’s finding enough energy on game day.”

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McDermott indicated Monday he still is not ready to welcome forward LaRon Dendy back into his good graces.

Dendy was gone from the team for a full week — and two games — to attend his great grandmother’s funeral in South Carolina. Dendy returned days later than expected and without a good explanation.

He did not play in last Wednesday’s loss to OSU and saw four minutes of action last Saturday against Texas A&M.

“He and I met (Sunday) and talked through some things,” McDermott said. “I like the progress he’s making. We’ll gradually work him back into the lineup.”

Dendy is averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. He’s tried to keep his head up, teammates say.

“He’s working extra hard and is doing what he has to do to get back some more minutes,” said Craig Brackins.

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Is McDermott finally feeling the heat?

February 18, 2010

McDermott's post-game scene Wednesday was tough to watch

AMES — The pressure may finally be getting to Greg McDermott.

The Iowa State coach got emotional addressing reporters after his team’s 69-64 loss to Oklahoma State, the Cyclones’ fifth straight and eighth in nine tries.

ISU (13-13, 2-9 Big 12) couldn’t do much right early on and trailed 36-16  with 5 1/2 minutes before halftime.

Fans were restless. The student section was quiet, except for the snide remarks aimed at ISU’s players and their fourth-year coach. Players’ body language screamed frustration and embarassment.

“The start of the game was a joke,” McDermott said softly, searching for the right words. “That’s all there is to it. It’s my job to get these guys ready and they obviously weren’t. I didn’t feel like we practiced with quite as much focus and energy the past few days, but there’s no excuse for it.”

The Cyclones rallied to make it a game, led for a bit in the second half, but couldn’t make enough of the right plays late to win.

On the court, we saw McDermott act in a way fans — and we in the media — aren’t used to seeing from him.

After a no-call on forward Craig Brackins under ISU’s basket, McDermott reacted by ripping off his suit coat, throwing it to the ground and screaming in the face of official Kip Kissinger, who quickly whistled McDermott for a technical foul.

It didn’t stop there. He rode officials the rest of the way, barking and staring, and probably is lucky he wasn’t tossed.

A colleague of mine described McDermott as looking defeated during his post-game remarks. Could you blame the guy with how this once-promising season has gone?

It was a strange scene Wednesday night at Hilton Coliseum. It could get stranger. 

Athletic Director Jamie Pollard isn’t talking publicly about McDermott’s status. It’s getting harder to ignore with each passing game that doesn’t go ISU’s way.

Dendy expected back in Iowa tonight (we think)

February 15, 2010

Expected to rejoin the Cyclones Monday night

AMES — Will LaRon Dendy ever make it back to campus and Iowa State’s basketball team?

The answer is yes, though at his own expense and later than a frustrated Coach Greg McDermott would’ve liked. As a result, the 6-9 junior forward may miss his third straight game Wednesday when the Cyclones (13-12, 2-8 Big 12) play host to Oklahoma State.

“He was on his own to get back,” McDermott said. “He stayed too long, in my opinion.”

Dendy — in South Carolina for the past week attending his great grandmother’s funeral — is scheduled to fly into Des Moines late Monday, McDermott said. The funeral was scheduled for last Tuesday, then postponed till Thursday. 

ISU was able to pay for Dendy’s flight home, but was too late in trying to change his return flight. Dendy did not inform coaches in time. 

“I think he found a flight that was reasonable that he could get home tonight (Monday),” McDermott said.

Dendy is ISU’s fifth-leading scorer (7.2 ppg) and averages 3.6 rebounds a game. He is shooting 56.7 percent from the field.

He missed road games at Missouri and Kansas and may not play against the Cowboys, who at 17-7 overall and 5-5 in Big 12 play are just as desperate as ISU for a victory.

“I don’t know (if Dendy will play),” McDermott said. “He hasn’t practice for a week.”

Men’s hoops news and notes

January 26, 2010

AMES — Marquis Gilstrap is scheduled to rejoin the team Tuesday night in Oklahoma following his uncle’s funeral back home in Georgia.

Gilstrap left Ames Monday morning. He’ll participate in Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the Lloyd Noble Center prior to Iowa State’s 8 p.m. game against Oklahoma.

Hopefully the Cyclones’ leading scorer (18 ppg) and rebounder (12.3)  in Big 12 Conference play won’t show much rust and a lack of preparedness for the scouting report. Gilstrap was withheld from Sunday’s practice because of a sore knee.

“These couple days might be good for him to get a little bit of rest,” said Coach Greg McDermott. “He’s got an understanding of what we are doing. He’ll be fine.”

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A victory tonight over the Sooners  would be reason for celebration in more ways than one.

No Iowa State team has won in Norman since Valentine’s Day 1996, a 70-58 victory. The Cyclone men have lost six straight at OU and 16 consecutive regular-season games in the state of Oklahoma counting in games at Oklahoma State.

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With just eight scholarship guys, ISU players are having to settle into roles they are not entirely familiar with.

Sophomore Dominique Buckley is one of three point guards on the active roster. Buckley is having to play the off guard spot with Lucca Staiger and Charles Boozer unavailable.

It’s been an adjustment, to say the least.

“That’s not something he’s practiced at any time over the last year-and-a-half because we’ve had enough depth. He’s going to have to play there the rest of the season.”

Scott Christopherson will start his third game since Staiger’s shocking decision to leave the team.

Like Gilstrap, Christopherson also missed practice Sunday because of an illness. He’s carrying a heavy load for McDermott on both ends of the floor.

“We are asking a lot of Scott,” he said. “He’s got to guard (Kansas’) Sherron Collins, but I expect him to score. He’ll guard (Oklahoma’s) Willie Warren, and I need him to score some points. It would be nice if there was enough offense around him that we wouldn’t have to rely on him heavily.”

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ISU has now seen them both up close. Which team is better, Kansas or Texas?

“They are both really talented and both very deep,” McDermott said.

The Big 12 heavyweights meet up Feb. 8 in an ESPN Big Monday game. The No. 2-ranked Jayhawks (19-1) beat up on Missouri last night, winning 84-65 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Texas (17-2) fell to No. 6 in the Associated Press poll after losses last week to Kansas State and Connecticut.

“It’s going to be a heck of a game,” McDermott said. “They are both athletic, they both can score on the inside, they both have solid point guard play. Both are very deserving of a top-10 ranking.”

Arnaud, Stephens look fine in warm-ups

November 7, 2009

Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud and center Reggie Stephens look to be full go for today.

Both are participating in warm-ups and took snaps with the first-team offense prior to today’s game against No. 18 Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.

Arnaud has missed the last two games because of a bruised right hand. Stephens had his appendix removed 10 days ago, but has been cleared medically and will play through any pain he’s got.

ISU has been hit hard by injuries this season.

Walking off the field with the team following warm-ups in street clothes were defensive back Ter’ran Benton (broken leg), defensive end Rashawn Parker (ACL tear) and receiver Darius Reynolds (broken ankle).

Cyclones on TV next week vs. OSU

October 26, 2009

Good news for Iowa State fans, next week’s home game against No. 13 Oklahoma State WILL be televised.

On what channel and when won’t be determined until Sunday. ABC is using the second of its three six-day selection windows for Nov. 7 Big 12 games.

ABC will decide among three games for its two telecast windows of 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.: Oklahoma State at ISU, Oklahoma at Nebraska or Kansas at Kansas State. The game not chosen by ABC will be picked up by Versus.

This week’s 2:30 p.m. game at Texas A&M is NOT being televised.

The Big 12’s dance card

March 4, 2009

The old guard is back atop the Big 12 Conference standings and looking toward a postseason run.

Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are the league’s Big Three teams and safely in the field of 65. I think we can all agree on that.

The next tier is where it gets tricky. Who else deserves bids?

This is a league where every year at least five teams and probably six should be playing past the conference tournament.

The way I see it, there’s five pretty solid locks, especially after Oklahoma State’s uber-important victory Tuesday night over Kansas State.

That was a do-or-die game for the ‘Cats, who fell to 20-10 and 8-7. They’re toast, unless they win four games in four days next week in Oklahoma City, a feat that’s never been accomplished in Big 12 tournament history.

Good luck with that guys.

Past the Big Three, it’s Texas and Oklahoma State — each with identical 20-9 overall and 9-6 league records — whose resumes stand tallest before the selection committee.

Texas A&M has a chance to crash the party if its winning streak reaches a half-dozen and  probably beyond. The Aggies (21-8, 7-7) have to win at Colorado and beat Missouri at home. Have to.

A couple wins at the Ford Center next week wouldn’t hurt in solidifying their standing.

It’s a team that’s on a serious roll. Ask Iowa State, which was run out of the gym in the second half of an 87-69 loss in College Station last weekend.

Here’s what I’ve got right now: Five teams in the NCAA field and one on the bubble.

Thoughts?

Brackins vs. KU, Round 2

February 17, 2009

Craig Brackins’ 42-point, 14-rebound outburst last month against Kansas has been a life-changing experience for the star forward.

Brackins’ profile has exploded since then, and so has his belief that he can be a dominating player in the Big 12 Conference.

“It boosted my confidence up a lot,” Brackins said.

In the six games since, Iowa State’s 6-10 sophomore has averaged 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest,  shot 49.5% from the field (50 of 101) and made 20 of 30 free-throw attempts.

NBA talk, barely a whisper before that night, has gained momentum. One web site projects Brackins as the No. 20 pick in next year’s draft should he forgo his final two years of eligibility.

That’s what happens when you drop 42 on the defending national champs and you are behind only Oklahoma ‘s Blake Griffin — a lock to go No. 1 overall in the draft — in the league’s most prominent statistical categories.

Everything is different now. He’s the man, and with this Iowa State team, unfortunately a solo act.

“On the court it’s a lot more attention with defenses,” Brackins responded when asked what’s changed since his performance against KU. “Off the court it’s a lot more eyes (on me), people around campus and stuff.”

The Jayhawks, who won the first meeting by a score of 82-67, get another crack at Brackins Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

They didn’t double-team him much in Ames, picking their spots, but mostly checking him straight up.

They paid for it, but the rest of the Cyclones didn’t do their part. Iowa State coach Greg McDermott is expecting a similar defensive strategy this time around.

Brackins isn’t.

“I don’t think they are going to let me breathe and proably try to make it a lot tougher than last time,” he said.

Brackins was 11 of 19 from the field and 17 of 21 at the free-throw line. And his field goals weren’t bunnies, either.

He buried three 3-pointers. Most of the shots were contested.

“He made some hard shots,” KU coach Bill Self said Monday in comments in reporters. “We can probably guard him better,  but he was really good that day. We’ll try to come up with some ways to maybe limit his good touches, but he’s going to probably score some points.”

Brackins was a talented player as a freshman, that was evident.

He now has become an elite player in the Big 12. And, according to McDermott, Brackins could be even better next season if he sticks around.

He’s a better practice player. He’s more focused. Double teams don’t spook him like they used to. His leadership skills have grown strong.

“The exciting thing about Craig is that I don’t think he’s reached his ceiling,” McDermott said. “His body can get better and he can improve in a lot of parts of his game, which is really scary.”

The Cyclones don’t need Brackins to pump in 42 to win Wednesday.

They’ll take 25 and seven assists. ISU is at its best when the perimeter players are hitting shots from the outside off of feeds from Brackins.

More often than not, they haven’t been able to do that, which is why the Cyclones are 13-12 and 2-8 in conference play.

ISU was clicking early in last Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma State. Shots were falling as Brackins was passing out of double teams to open teammates.

“Hopefully that can continue for a whole game,” Brackins said. “If they shoot with confidence we’ll be OK.”