AMES — This is what Iowa State expected to look like at the beginning of the men’s basketball season. Injuries and suspensions postponed that, but the Cyclones say they’ve found their stride.
No. 20 Iowa State beat West Virginia 93-68 Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum and got contributions across the board.
“We’re playing as a team,” ISU sophomore guard Lindell Wigginton said. “In practice we’re getting after it and buying into what coach is saying. Our chemistry on the court is really good. This team fits really well and works really well together.”
Wigginton seems to have returned to form after suffering a foot injury in the first game of the season. Wigginton scored a season-high 28 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 13-of-16 shooting from the free-throw line.
“It’s good to see him score 28 because he hasn’t had that break-out, break-out game yet,” Coach Steve Prohm said of Wigginton, who had 13 20-point games last season.
Wigginton was aggressive throughout the game and West Virginia (9-12, 1-7) couldn’t stay in front of him. This is the third game in the last four Wigginton shot better than 50 percent from the field.
“I think I hit my rhythm a week and a half ago, maybe two weeks,” Wigginton said. “My coaches and my teammates told me to stay confident.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Iowa State (16-5, 5-3) forward Michael Jacobson didn’t have his best game, going 0 of 5 from the field, but Cam Lard came off the bench and scored six points on 3-of-4 shooting.
Prohm said leading scorer Marial Shayok is an almost automatic 18-to-20 points a game. Against the Mountaineers, Shayok scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
“It was good to see guys do certain things,” Prohm said. “It was good to see Lindell be aggressive, it was good to Cam Lard finish around the rim and all those other guys were so solid. Marial, that’s the quietest 18 I’ve seen.”
Shayok’s scoring was so quiet because Iowa State didn’t run any plays for him (the Cyclones didn’t really run plays for anybody).
“People get caught up in that you need these special and magical plays,” Prohm said. “Sometimes you just need to play basketball. That’s one thing this program has done a good job of for a long time — having high IQ guys that know how to play in space and make good decisions.”
Nick Weiler-Babb is probably Iowa State’s highest basketball-IQ player. He had 14 points on 3-for-5 shooting and 7-of-7 shooting from the line.
He just ran a high pick and roll with Jacobson or Lard and made a decision based off of what he saw.
Defensivley, Iowa State held West Virginia to 42 percent shooting and turned the Mountaineers over 19 times. Weiler-Babb had four steals himself.
“We’re getting to the point where if somebody is having an off night, someone off the bench will step up and play really well,” Weiler-Babb said. “Everybody’s not always going to have a great night shooting, but now we’re getting to the point, defensively, where we’re getting stops on the defensive end and having everybody back helps out a lot.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!
You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.
Iowa State is about to enter the second half of league play. The Cyclones are 16-5 overall with a 5-3 Big 12 record. They are one of five teams with five conference wins.
“Obviously it’s a mixed-up, jumbled race,” Prohm said. “We have a good rotation. We have seven to nine guys that we play and can count on.”
Weiler-Babb said the Cyclones are eyeing one thing.
“All I know is that we’re going for that No. 1 spot,” Weiler-Babb said. “Everybody in the league is a good team. You can’t take any days off.”
Next is a home game at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) against Texas (12-9, 4-4).
l Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org