Iowa State thought the December returns for redshirt sophomore Cameron Lard and redshirt senior Zoran Talley Jr. would provide a much-needed depth boost.
Instead, Saturday showed how far the Cyclones still need to go before feeling comfortable about players on the second unit.
While Iowa State (9-2, 0-0 Big 12) defeated Drake (6-2, 0-0 MVC) on Saturday by a final score of 77-68, the Cyclones needed a big final push from the starters to come away with the win.
“We kinda got stagnant a little bit in the middle of that second half,” said redshirt junior Michael Jacobson, who led Iowa State with 22 points. “We got it moving again. Guys were driving, kicking, we were playing off dribble-drive and just spacing the floor.”
Iowa State utilized a 19-2 run to take the score from a 58-63 deficit to a 77-65 lead over the final seven minutes. Jacobson chipped in with the first seven points during that run.
Along with Jacobson’s 22, three other Cyclones scored in double-figures. Redshirt senior Marial Shayok (18), freshman Talen Horton-Tucker (15) and redshirt senior Nick Weiler-Babb (13) contributed big. Freshman guard Tyrese Haliburton had five points, four rebounds and two assists.
Other than those five, however, the Cyclones struggled.
Iowa State’s bench contributed four points (2-of-7 shooting), and Talley Jr. was the only bench player to play more than six minutes.
Out of Iowa State’s 77 points, 73 came from the starters. Six of the 33 rebounds were from the bench as well.
“I knew this was gonna be this type of game,” said coach Steve Prohm. “We’ve gotta push through it … We’ve got a lot of youth on this team to where we’re not coaching a senior-led team of six, seven seniors. We’re playing a lot of guys that haven’t played at this level.”
Lard, who led Iowa State last season in rebounding and blocks, did not play in the first half. He checked in at the 14:40 mark of the second half and played three minutes.
Lard picked up three fouls and two blocks in his brief time on the floor. Freshman big man George Conditt IV played six minutes in the first half and registered three rebounds, a block and a steal.
“He [Lard] had four fouls one night and four fouls the other night,” Prohm said. “He’s just gotta continue to get himself in game shape.
“I thought George played well in segments, but for us to max our ceiling, we need to get Cameron in a good place. He’s just got a little ways to go.”
Freshman forward Zion Griffin, who played in nine games for the Cyclones, did not play Saturday. Nor did junior forward Solomon Young, who has not played this season after having surgery in October. Young suited up and is expected to be ready when Iowa State plays Eastern Illinois on Friday.
Iowa State has one game before Big 12 play begins on Jan. 2, 2019. Prohm has said he would like to get Young and sophomore guard Lindell Wigginton (foot strain) some playing time before conference play rolls around. Iowa State will have nearly two weeks between the Eastern Illinois game and the matchup with Oklahoma State to start Big 12 play.
Source: Iowa State Daily