Early in the game, Iowa State had a clear offensive strategy, feed senior forward Solomon Young. And that plan worked as the 6-foot-8, 255-pounder had his way on the blocks.
Posting up one-on-one against Tech’s Marcus Santos-Silva, Young was able to score 10 points in the first eight minutes of the game. At that point, the rest of his team had scored just four points.
So Tech went to the strategy of double-teaming Young and it made all the difference in the world. With either Santos-Silva or Tyreek Smith guarding him from behind and a double-team coming from a guard as soon as he touched the ball, the Red Raiders were able to fluster ISU’s big man.
After that change was made, Young would score just five more points on the afternoon. Thus, that strategy change proved to be an important turning point in this game.
That’s because the rest of the Cyclones simply couldn’t help Young carry the load. In the first half, he was 5-6 from the floor while his teammates went just 8-24.
By the time that ISU had managed to adjust to the doubling of Young, Tech had jumped out to a 22-point lead and by then, Young was rendered rather useless as ISU wasn’t going to get back into the game by going to their post player on the blocks but rather by hoping to get hot from 3-point range.
Of course, that didn’t happen and ISU never challenged in this game after the first ten minutes. And a huge reason was that Tech was able to take Young out of the game after his big start.