Iowa State has routed its first two opponents by a combined 86 points, but the chance to sustain momentum has faced a roadblock in the form of extended time off between games.
By the time the Cyclones tip off against visiting Milwaukee late Sunday afternoon, it will have been a week since the team last played.
Relative to the crush of holiday tournaments and the travel schedule within the geographically ample Big 12, however, the Cyclones (2-0) don’t seem to mind.
“You can focus on both what you need to do and your opponent,” Iowa State’s Robert Jones said. “You have time to work on getting better on what specifically we can improve on, and also getting ready to play another opponent, as well.”
Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger said that while he feels players are “very connected” on defense, the offense could use the same jolt.
“There’s a lot of factors that go into it — ball movement, player movement, sharing the ball, playing for one another,” Otzelberger said.
Milwaukee (2-1) has been idle since thumping crosstown counterpart Cardinal Stritch, an NAIA school, 112-38 on Saturday.
Angelo Stuart (18 points) and Jalen Johnson (17) paced four Panthers in double figures, with Johnson hitting each of his eight field-goal attempts and lone free throw.
Milwaukee notched the second-biggest margin of victory in school history while hounding the Wolves into 14-for-64 shooting — at 21.9 percent, the third-lowest rate the program has allowed.
“When you get up by a lot of points,” Panthers coach Bart Lundy said, “you get to see who is going to be disciplined, who is going to be silly, who is going to stick with what we do. … And I thought they took it seriously that we were trying to get better as a team.”
Iowa State leads the all-time series 4-1 as the Panthers aim to win their second straight meeting between the schools. Visiting Milwaukee topped the Cyclones 74-56 in Iowa State’s home opener in November 2017.
–Field Level Media