Mike Jacobson was the reason Iowa State beat Drake
Randy Peterson, email@example.com
Steve Prohm was stumped a bit when asked where his team would be right now had he not successfully recruited Mike Jacobson into his program.
It wasn’t a trick question. Had Jacobson not transferred from Nebraska, what would the Cyclones’ record be today?
“And we had two guys hurt and two guys suspended?” Prohm asked aloud after his post player starred in Saturday’s 77-68 victory against Drake at Wells Fargo Arena. “If we didn’t have Mike?”
“I would play five guards,” the coach said. “I don’t know where we’d be. But you know what? He’s here.”
With post player Cam Lard suspended the first seven games and now as a foul waiting to happen since he’s been eligible…
With Solomon Young still not playing after undergoing offseason groin surgery…
And with true freshman post player George Conditt still in the midst of his first collegiate game…
I can’t tell you where Iowa State would be, either, without Jacobson.
But this much I know: The Cyclones wouldn’t be 9-2 heading into their final nonconference game on Friday at home against Eastern Illinois.
Heck, Iowa State probably wouldn’t have beaten Darian DeVries’ Bulldogs without the 6-foot-9 Jacobson’s game-best 22 points that included an eye-popping 3-for-4 from 3-point range in 31 minutes.
“Jacobson was really good,” DeVries said. “We wanted to dare him to shoot it — and he proved us wrong.”
He’s proving everyone wrong. He’s the Cyclones’ 3-point shooting percentage leader. He made those three on Saturday, one shy of the entire season total his last year with the Cornhuskers.
“Coach Prohm said if I showed him I could shoot it, that I could shoot it,” said Jacobson, who has made nine of his 20 three-point attempts in 11 games. “He gave me an opportunity.”
When your 6-9 post player has to step out to can a 3-point shot that results in a 63-all game with just more than 5 minutes to play, you’re either not getting much from your usual wing guys, or the tall post player is just as worthy on the perimeter as he is under the basket.
With these Cyclones and with Jacobson, it’s a lot of both.
“He tips balls, he pursues things, he posts up, he can step out and drive it,” said DeVries, who saw Jacobson play a time or two back when he was a Greg McDermott assistant at Creighton. “He was tremendous. He was the difference of the game in all facets. “When he’s shooting it like that, he’s a really hard matchup. He puts a lot of stress on the defense.
“If he continues to knock them down, he’s going to have a really good year, just because of his approach to the game.”
An event worker handed Jacobson the box score as he sat down at the podium. While Prohm and Talen Horton-Tucker were answering questions, Jacobson was in read mode.
What sticks out about your statistical line?
I asked this, kind of expecting some kind of a response about his 3-point shooting display.
“Four rebounds and three turnovers, I think, would probably be it,” he said. “Me and Coach have talked about trying to keep my turnovers down and trying to get my assists up.
“Four total rebounds — I would have liked to get on the glass more.”
Which brings me back to my original question: Just where would Iowa State be today, and entering Big Conference play against Oklahoma State on Jan. 2, without the tremendous contributions that Mike Jacobson has made?
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“Oh man,” freshman sensation Horton-Tucker responded. “Mike’s the rock of our team. With the big guys — Cam and (Young) being out — Mike’s stepped up. He’s worked on his game. He’s a great player, and I respect him a lot for that.
“He’s telling me what to do. He’s always there for me.”
And on Saturday, he was the difference between an Iowa State loss and an Iowa State victory.
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