Stanz: Osunniyi is ready to challenge Armando Bacot
Iowa State University Hurricanes Oson Osunyi (21) reacts after a dunk against Milwaukee during the first half at Hilton Coliseum Sunday, November 20, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. Photo by Nirmalindu Majumdar/Amis Tribune
Portland – Osun Osunyi He knew the ball was on his way as Iowa broke the rally with 43 seconds on the clock and a two-point lead over Villanova in overtime Thursday in Portland.
St. Bonaventure’s 6-foot-10 transfer center powered his way to the post, and his defender scrambled back, spun around and put the ball out of the glass unchallenged with 36 seconds left.
Villanova’s Caleb Daniels drove the baseline toward Osunniyi on the next possession, and Daniels’ base floater nearly found its way to the benches when Atlantic’s Top 10 Defensive Player squashed it twice.
Seconds later, Iowa State’s starting point guard Lipsey insurance He made an over-the-shoulder steal and was immediately fouled. He calmly walked up to the line and hit four consecutive free throws to freeze the basketball game.
Those free throws seal the deal was a big deal, especially when you consider that Iowa blew a 16-point lead in the second half and still appeared to dominate the game going into under-four timeouts before the contest found its way into overtime. .
There was a lot going on Thursday in Portland, but it all swung Iowa State’s path for good as Osonyi walked out of the huddle knowing the ball was on his way.
“(The coaches) gave me the confidence to go get the bucket,” Osonyi said, recalling that late overtime timeout. “We work every day. They trust me every day. They call plays for me. They trust me. It helps me go out and do what I do.”
Iowa made a big, concerted effort to hit the post against the Wildcats. With Villanova switching all monitors, Otzelberger and his staff felt they could get some favorable matches for Osunniyi and Osunniyi Robert Jones.
They were right.
They each scored in double figures with Osunniyi scoring 17 effective points on 8-of-10 from the field with five rebounds while Jones had 10 points and five boards.
Both players finished solidly at the edge and were not shy about finishing over the top of smaller defenders. This is the trend that speaks to one of the biggest ways this team will differ from last year’s lineup.
Through five games, Iowa State is shooting 56 percent on two-point shots, which is a nearly six percentage point improvement over last year’s team that ranked somewhere in the mid-50s in that statistic.
This year’s team is among the top 50 teams at this point.
So while this team probably won’t have as many nights when they’re tearing the lid off the ball shooting from deep, they’ll be more efficient and consistent around the edge.
Iowa fired 8-of-28 from 3-point range against Villanova, including 5-of-15 from a deep split for Gabe Calshore I felt way more efficient in the moment than the stat sheet indicated.
The Cyclones needed all five of Kalscheur’s three-pointers in order to win this game, but it was the ability to make defensive turnovers, force Villanova to run hard shots when they weren’t turning them over, and then finish around the rim over the top. Favorable matches that actually win this game’s hurricanes.
“We talked a lot in our preparations about going into position and being really tenacious,” the head coach said TJ Otzelberger He said. “If they are going to play us one-on-one, our players need to believe in themselves, keep going deep at the post, use their dribbling, get the ball to the goal and then finish. Osun did an amazing job like that. For sure, there is no bigger basket in that Phase of the game. So, there’s something we’ve confirmed, something we’ve talked about and it’s great to see our guys execute over the long haul.”
There will be a different kind of challenge coming for Osunniyi, Jones and VCU forward Ward goldfinchwho scored four points against Villanova, on Friday when Iowa lines up against No. 1 North Carolina.
Perhaps no college basketball player benefited more from last year’s NCAA tournament than Armando Bacot. He became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to record six consecutive double-doubles.
That success catapulted his team to #2 nationally, propelled him to college super hoops, earn big paydays through the NIL, earn preseason All-American honors, and even pick a guest star role on the hit Netflix teen drama Outer Banks.
Bacot’s return to Chapel Hill, along with veteran guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis, as well as Northwestern transfer forward Pete Nance, have made the Tar Heels one of the favorites to run the table this season.
Hubert Davis’ team was vulnerable to this point, and Portland pushed it over the brink Thursday in its first-round matchup.
Bacot coolly scored 11 points and 13 rebounds, but it was Nance who led the way for Carolina by scoring 28 points, going 5-of-8 from 3-point range and grabbing seven rebounds on his baby blue break.
These two players would put Iowa’s new frontcourt to its first real test with Osunniyi going head-to-head with Bacot as the headliner.
“He’s one of the best big guys in the country,” said Osonyi. “It’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’ll go back to a hotel today and prepare some game plan, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Osonyi came to Iowa State with the intention of showing his abilities in order to improve his professional stock. This requires playing against the best college basketball.
If you want to prove that you are the best defensive big man in college basketball and deserve to be in the best big man in college hoops debate, who better to prove it against one of the best college basketball men on the big stage in the NBA arena?
“I have great confidence in our front-line guys,” said Otzelberger. “I know they’re a program that has traditionally played front-line players and they love to get inside too. I know our boys will be up for a challenge and we’re excited to get out there tomorrow because we’re going inside and we have confidence and faith in our boys. They’ll get in, we’ll get in and we’ll see what happens.”
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