AMES — When Iowa State basketball fans closed their eyes before bed in June and envisioned the season the team could have, Saturday night against Oklahoma State was probably pretty close to what they saw.
The Cyclones beat the Cowboys 72-59 and Lindell Wigginton, Cam Lard and Marial Shayok led the way at Hilton Coliseum.
Wigginton and Lard were the Cyclones’ (14-4, 4-2) best players last season and were off to slow starts this season. All last season, Coach Steve Prohm said Shayok would’ve been the best player if he didn’t have to sit out due to transfer rules. On Saturday, they collectively showed their capabilities.
For the first time since his injury, Wigginton had an efficient shooting night. The sophomore poured in 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
He also had three assists and no turnovers against the Cowboys (8-10, 2-4).
“I think this is the best he’s played this season,” Prohm said. “He’s showing signs of his old self and he’s getting up to speed. He shot it with a great pace today. I also thought he drove it and made the right decisions. From a year ago, he’s made great strides in that area. Defensively, he was better today. I’m happy for him.”
Wigginton said he’s finally starting to feel comfortable out on the court again after his foot injury.
“I feel like I’m starting to get into a rhythm,” Wigginton said. “I felt good going into the Texas Tech game and then after that game, too. I’m just trying to keep my confidence and my rhythm going.”
Shayok, the Big 12’s leading scorer, was happy to see Wigginton find his stroke.
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“It was great,” Shayok said. “If I’m not playing as well, I know he’s going to be there to step up. He’s only going to get better with time. As these games go on, he’s going to be big time for us.”
Lard contributed 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting, five rebounds and three blocks, returning from his sprained ankle.
“He just brings big-time energy and a presence down low,” Shayok said. “He makes opponents take difficult shots or deflect it at the rim.”
Like Wigginton, Prohm said this was Lard’s best game.
“I thought he was really good,” Prohm said. “He made free throws, he had three blocks, three offensive rebounds, he finished around the paint. We need him to be at our best because he provides some things.”
Shayok struggled throughout the game from the field right up until the 6:30 mark of the second half. From that point on, the senior transfer from Virginia poured in 11 points to close the game for the Cyclones.
“I thought Marial really closed the game and that’s what seniors have to do,” Prohm said.
As a team, Iowa State turned the ball over just six times, none in the second half. This is the second straight game the Cyclones have had a half with no turnovers. Iowa State had no turnovers in the game at Texas Tech on Wednesday.
Prohm attributed it to having four guards on the court who can all dribble, pass, shoot and make good decisions. It seems simple and obvious, but over the last two games, Iowa State has taken that to another level.
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