Steve Prohm says there was a lot to be happy about after win at Oklahoma State
Randy Peterson, email@example.com
STILLWATER, Okla. — Don’t give up on Cam Lard. His teammates haven’t, and coach Steve Prohm hasn’t, either.
Iowa State’s out-of-the-doghouse 6-foot-9 post player was on the floor a season-best 15 ½ minutes during the Cyclones’ 69-63 victory at Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena Wednesday. From the way Prohm talked after his team’s 11th win, more minutes could be coming.
“Cam was really good in the first half,” Prohm said. “He was a big factor for us last year. He can be that guy for us again.”
His worth in Iowa State’s conference opener wasn’t seen in the traditional statistics — four points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots. His value was at the far edge of the box score — under the heading “plus or minus.”
“That’s the first thing he looked at when we got in the locker room,” Nick Weiler-Babb said. “That was big time, seeing that from him.”
Often, that statistic is as meaningless as a last-second free throw in a blowout. It shows how many points your team outscored an opponent — or were outscored by an opponent — when a player is on the floor.
Lard registered a plus-12 — and in that case, a significant plus-12, because the game wasn’t decided until Lindell Wigginton canned a three-point shot with just more than a minute to play. Oklahoma State played with its best lineups throughout the 40-minute game.
“Being selfless … coach has been harping that on me lately,” Lard said. “I haven’t been myself. I’m just trying to get back to the old Cameron, and get back to the energy guy that can help the team.”
He was that Wednesday. Lard ran the floor better that anyone. He was aggressive. He dove for loose balls. His body language was an A-plus.
“He stayed positive the whole game,” Weiler-Babb said. “He kept his attitude up. He’s an energy guy. Coach said he needed him in there for defense.”
Oklahoma State scored 26 points in the paint, but found scoring at the basket was tougher with Lard on the floor. He’s still a tad prone to foul — but that’s OK, as long as he continues playing hard.
The Cyclones haven’t needed two big players on the floor at the same — so the post trio of Mike Jacobson, Lard and Solomon Young can plan relentlessly. They’ll need to be atop their games on Saturday — with 12-1 No. 6 Kansas coming to Ames for a 4 p.m. game.
The Jayhawks aren’t just tall — with 7-foot Udoka Azubuike and 6-9 Dedric Lawson —they’re tall and athletic.
“You can make a case that Iowa State had as good a preseason as anybody (in the league),” Kansas coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks beat Oklahoma 70-63 Wednesday night. “They’re back to being healthy, and Steve (Prohm) has done a great job of winning some games that were hard games.
“Now they have their full complement of guys, and it will be a great game and atmosphere.”
Random morning-after thoughts after Iowa State’s victory at Oklahoma State:
► Beat Baylor on Tuesday in Waco, and this will be the first time since the 1999-2000 season that the Cyclones started 2-0 on the Big 12 road. That’s significant, considering how hard it is to win away from home.
► Wigginton is one of the players Self referred to when he talked about Iowa State being healthy again. The combo guard scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds Wednesday.
► However, he needs to work a bit on his three-point shot. He was 1-for-6 — but his one make was a big one. It put the game away with 1:20 to play. It followed three consecutive long-range misses — one by Wigginton and two by Marial Shayok.
“When Marial shot those two, I said to myself, ‘that the guy shoots every single day — every single day,’” Prohm said after the game. “He’s earned the right to make the shots. He’s earned the right to shoot those shots.
“I thought Lindell responded. He really competed. His three-point shot will continue to get better as he continues to get in game condition.”
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