Building a belief in close games


Iowa State has played more close games this season than anyone in the Big 12.

Four of its seven contests have been decided by seven or fewer points. The Cyclones have split those games (wins at Iowa and vs. Toledo and losses to Kansas State and at Texas).

“A big piece of it (winning close games) is confidence,” Coach Paul Rhoads said Monday. “It’s something we’ve highlighted in the last 8-9 days.”

A year ago, Iowa State was 0-4 in close games. The mark was 1-2 in 2012. The last time the Cyclones had had a winning record in such contests was 2011 when they went 5-1.

“We talked about eliminating doubt as we went into the Iowa game,” Rhoads said of a game that his team won in the closing seconds. “One of the ways you eliminate doubt is to have confidence.”

The determination of this year’s squad has put them in position for wins more than half of the time through seven games. With five regular-season games left, it’s likely they’ll have more opportunities.

Building on games like the road win in Iowa City earlier this fall is what Rhoads is trying to do.

The Cyclones have captured victory in close games twice as many times in the opening seven weeks as they did in the prior two full seasons combined.

Belief is gradually increasing.


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