GREENSBORO, N.C. — A wonky rim delayed warm-ups for Iowa State on Friday, but that was just the start of the Cyclones’ shooting troubles.
Game officials spent several minutes attending to the rim on one basket before Friday’s NCAA tournament game against Pitt after Iowa State voiced concerns about the set-up during shootaround. When the game finally tipped off, it looked as if the abridged practice time — or perhaps the off-kilter rim — had played havoc with the Cyclones’ ability to find the bottom of the net.
Iowa State missed its first 11 shots in an eventual 59-41 loss to 11 seed Pitt, but after the game, forward Tre King said the mechanical issues with the basket played no part in the offensive woes.
“It definitely wasn’t a factor,” King said. “One thing we always talk about is we know adversity is coming. We have to deal with it.”
An NCAA official confirmed officials made “a minor adjustment” to the rim before tipoff and said Iowa State was offered additional warm-up time but declined.
The awful shooting start helped Pitt jump out to a 22-2 lead before a flurry of turnovers allowed Iowa State to go on a run, closing to within 7 at the half.
But shooting on the opposite basket, the Cyclones opened the second half nearly as cold, mustering just one basket through the first 9:49 of the period.
For the game, Iowa State shot just 23.3% — including 17.2% in the second half — and were 2-of-21 from beyond the arc. The Cyclones even struggled at the free-throw line, missing eight of 19 attempts.
“When the ball’s not going in, we work on the shots and stay true to who we are with our mechanics and confidence,” guard Gabe Kalscheur said. “That wasn’t a factor in why the ball wasn’t going in. Sometimes it just isn’t going in. Sometimes that happens. We wish we had that one back and wish our offense was going smoothly.”
Pitt coach Jeff Capel said the Panthers’ game plan was built around a belief that Iowa State couldn’t shoot its way to a win.
“Just looking at the stats, watching them play, they had struggled to score really all year,” Capel said. “They really needed turnovers. That’s how they scored. … When we were organized offensively, we were really able to contain them.”
After the game, officials were seen working on the same rim again ahead of the game between Providence and Kentucky.