Scrappy ISU rookie credits his teammates
AMES, Ia. — Yeah, Lindell Wigginton is good. He’s very good. And thankfully for Iowa State, the freshman brought his “A” game Monday night.
Without all his points and all-around play, especially in the second half, the Cyclones’ 94-80 victory against Northern Illinois at Hilton Coliseum wouldn’t have been as simple as he made it look.
But he did it with ease, and now there’s momentum heading into Thursday’s 7 p.m. Cy vs. Hawk game at Hilton Coliseum.
Wigginton scored 28 points (including 15 in the second half), Nick Weiler-Babb added 12, Donovan Jackson scored a steady 24, and Cameron Lard had a stat line that included 14 points and four blocked shots as the Cyclones take a 5-2 record into Thursday night.
“We got more aggressive in the second half,” coach Steve Prohm said. “We did a good job playing in transition and opening up the floor.”
The Cyclones’ 58-42 advantage over the final 30 minutes included 61 percent shooting, including making 9 of 15 from 3-point range. And there was also Wigginton, whose point total was the fifth-best all-time among Iowa State freshmen.
“In the first half, we didn’t show a lot of intensity,” Wigginton said. “Coach told us we have to be more intense. We have to play more defense. That’s what we did.”
One second-half play showed Wigginton’s strengths — he stole the ball on a double-team on the Huskies’ end of the floor, then turned the turnover he caused into his layup and a 50-46 lead early in the second half.
Steve Prohm says his team played with more intensity during the final 30 minutes
Scrappy. Theft. Layup.
That’s what Prohm expects from the five-star recruit, and Monday night, that’s what he got, but he wasn’t done.
Wigginton flipped a neat pass to Solomon Young for a dunk. He put back a missed shot. He made a 3-point basket while absorbing a hard foul, and suddenly it was 59-49 Cyclones with 13:41 left in the game.
This rookie’s hot second-half start allowed Iowa State to pull away from a lackadaisical first half after which the Cyclones led 38-36, but he wasn’t the only player with a hot hand.
Jackson’s point total included 19 second-half points.
“I have to get myself going,” Jackson said. “In order to be a real good program, I have to max out in my role. Lindell is doing a great job and Nick Babb is doing a wonderful job. Everybody has to keep maxing out their role.”
Just eight Iowa State players were available, and that’s really not as big a deal as it may appear. Prohm’s rotation doesn’t go deeper than that, anyway, but during this search for team chemistry, a couple more options never hurts.
Jakolby Long didn’t play because he hasn’t been medically cleared from the concussion he suffered during practice over the Thanksgiving break. Zoran Talley didn’t play because of a foot injury. Neither has started, but when you’re a team still trying to figure out consistency – the more healthy and able bodies the merrier.
Both are questionable for Thursday’s matchup against the Hawkeyes.
“It’d be good to have at least one of them for Thursday,” Prohm said.
The Des Moines Register’s Randy Peterson breaks down Iowa State men’s basketball 90-84 win against Northern Illinois on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.
Kelsey Kremer/The Register
Babb had his usual good game from the point guard position – with 12 points, 11 assists, two turnovers and a steal while playing 35 minutes.
But back to Wigginton.
“He’s a talented kid,” Prohm said. “He can really score. I want to play him loose and free, but I want him sound and disciplined as well.
“If he can do that and continue to get better, he can be a very good player here.”
Some would say he already is a very good player.
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 email@example.com or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register
Powered by WPeMatico