KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marial Shayok to the rescue, again and again. One corner 3-point basket after another.
The guy with the wounded toe saved the day.
Iowa State came to Kansas City to prove a point. The fact the Cyclones will be playing in Saturday’s 5 p.m. Big 12 Conference championship game is one gigantic exclamation point, hung there by the gritty Virginia transfer.
Whatever bit Steve Prohm’s team in the rump during a three-week span in which they did next to nothing right while losing six of eight games is now officially gone. Exhibit A is Friday’s 63-59 victory against top-seeded Kansas State in the tournament’s semifinal round.
The 22-11 Cyclones will be in their fourth conference championship game in the past six seasons. The three most recent appearances in the game resulted in Iowa State toting the trophy back to Ames.
Iowa State played a wonderful last 10 minutes of the first half, outscoring the Wildcats 21-4. The Cyclones didn’t play well at the start of the second half and trailed. And just when they appeared to be fatigued, Tyrese Haliburton provided an injection of enthusiasm with a dunk that pulled Iowa State within 51-50.
Kansas State recovered, but Marial Shayok’s corner 3-pointer tied the game at 55-all with 1:55 left. Mike Jacobson grabbed an errant Kansas State shot, and boom:
Another long Shayok 3-pointer from the corner, this one just before the shot-clock buzzer went off.
Kansas State missed again, and this time Lindell Wigginton was there for the rebound.
Then it was Nick Weiler-Babb with the calm heroics: two free throws with 15 seconds left that gave Iowa State a 61-57 lead.
Shayok, appropriately, sealed the game with seven seconds left by making a pair of foul shots himself.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register