Lindell Wigginton provides boost Iowa State needed to get past Iowa

Freshman scores game-high 24 points in 84-78 win

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AMES – Lindell Wigginton got his first dose of Hilton Magic on Thursday as Iowa State hosted Iowa.

The freshman had played in Hilton Coliseum before, but not like this.

Iowa State (6-2) was down by five and Iowa (4-6) had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half. The Cyclones were not playing well.

Iowa State came back and won 84-78, propelled by Wigginton.

“It was crazy,” Wigginton said of the atmosphere. “I never heard that before in my life. The fans are crazy. I was loving it though, I was getting a little hyped. I don’t usually get hyped, but I was getting hyped.”

Wigginton led Iowa State in the second-half charge. Iowa State quickly tied the score, and at the 16:38 mark in the second half, Wigginton got in the lane and put up a floater – he was fouled.

The ball hung on the rim; it looked like it was rolling off. Hilton started yelling, trying to will the ball to fall through the net.

It listened. Wigginton connected on the free throw and Iowa State led 49-47.

“I was just trying to be aggressive and get to the hoop,” Wigginton said. “I actually lost the ball trying to be aggressive and I came up with it and the guy hit me on my arm and I just threw it up, and it went in.”

The Cyclones and Hawkeyes traded the lead a few more times, but every time Iowa State needed a big shot, the freshman guard was there to hit it.

At the 6:15 mark, point guard Nick Weiler-Babb was running in transition and threw a 30-foot bounce pass to Wigginton in the corner.

Wigginton didn’t hesitate and drained it to put Iowa State up nine points. That came on the heels of a Donovan Jackson 3-pointer. The fans almost blew the roof off.

“It just made us more confident,” Wigginton said of the back-to-back made 3-pointers. “Donovan going to make a shot and me making the 3-pointer, our teammates were happy for us and they showed it. They showed it on the floor.”

Iowa State needed that confidence as the Hawkeyes tried to scratch and claw their way back in the game, but their effort fell short.

“I have confidence in all these guys on the court,” Weiler-Babb said. “I have confidence in any of the guys – Lindell, Donovan, Hans (Brase) came through big and Solomon (Young), he’s just a big presence down there. We stuck together and did it together.”

Wigginton poured in 24 points, his third-straight 20-point game. He joined Marcus Fizer as the only Cyclones to have three straight 20-point games as freshman.

Coach Steve Prohm said it’s not fair to expect 20-point games from Wigginton all the time. But he’s also not surprised when it happens.

Weiler-Babb was his usual self, recording his third double-double in four games. The junior point guard had 15 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

“We’re growing up,” Prohm said. “We have a long way to go. We don’t have our identity yet but we’re starting to make steps. It’s a growth process every day with this team. There was a time when we had three freshmen out there for a couple minutes and it was great for them to get the experience in an environment like this.

“What I learned is what we’re capable of when we do the right things. I learned that when things get tough, they can respond. If you have character, ability and toughness, you can do special things.”

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