AMES — Seven …
… and oh my, the Iowa State men’s basketball continues to roll under new coach T.J. Otzelberger.
Wednesday’s 83-64 victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Hilton Coliseum wasn’t always a work of art, but hey, what’d you expect after consecutive Top 25 upsets against Xavier and Memphis en route to winning last week’s Preseason NIT?
Iowa State played well enough, however, to start a season with seven consecutive wins for the first time since the 2015-16 team was 9-0.
Furthermore, the Cyclones entered Wednesday’s game ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the coaches'. The last time they were ranked, Feb. 23, 2019, they lost at TCU. They weren’t rated again until Monday.
New roster. New coaches. New enthusiasm for fans, who agonized during the 2-22 of last season.
All were on display Wednesday.
“When we came in, in June, we outlined how our day would go everyday — how we would work, how we would invest in each other, and that playing for each other was a big part of it,” Otzelberger said this week. “They’ve done a good job of taking that plan and putting it into motion.”
Izaiah Brockington led Iowa State with 23 points and 10 rebounds, George Conditt scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Tre Jackson had 12 points off the bench.
Iowa State’s record not only include last week’s conquests, but also Oregon State, an Elite Eight participant last season.
The schedule picks up considerably Friday, when Otzelberger’s crew plays at Creighton, and against Bluejays coach Greg McDermott, a former Iowa State coach for whom Otzelberger once worked. Pine Bluff opened the season with a 90-77 loss at Creighton.
After that, Iowa State entertains Iowa on Dec. 9. The Big 12 Conference schedule starts Jan. 1 against defending NCAA champion Baylor, at Hilton.
“We knew what we had,” said Izaiah Brockington, a Penn State transfer. “To see it come to fruition like this — we’re doing it by defense. I’m really proud of the guys. We knew we could play. We just had to go out there and show it.”
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa State men's basketball to 7-0 after beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff