Tyrus McGee provides spark throughout game in win


Photo: Grace Steenhagen/Iowa State Daily

Junior guard Tyrus McGee goes up for a shot. McGee later scored a 3-pointer tying the game up with 15 seconds left on the clock. The final score was 71-68, adding another victory to Iowa State’s record.

Dan Tracy

Give Scott Christopherson a top play on SportsCenter, but hand the MVP award to Tyrus McGee.

Christopherson’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Iowa State the final three points of their 71-68 win against Oklahoma State, but McGee’s 3-point shot with 15.4 seconds left and his defensive effort to force a turnover keyed the Cyclones’ late push.

“Tyrus was big time,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “He was our energy guy all night long. If we didn’t have Tyrus tonight, there’s no way we stay in this ball game.”

As Iowa State’s sixth man, McGee felt that he had struggled late in games this season, and in Iowa State’s first four games in conference play, he had totaled only 16 points.

“I make a lot of turnovers in game situations and I need to stop that, to be honest,” McGee said. “It happens to all of us, [and] I had to make up for it.”

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-2-inch junior guard tied his season-high in points with 17 and did not turn the ball over once in his 29 minutes on the floor.

“He gave us a huge lift. Tyrus always comes in and plays with a lot of energy,” Christopherson said. “He brings a toughness to our team and definitely on a night like tonight, where we probably didn’t have the energy we needed, he came off the bench and definitely gave us a huge boost.”

Also, with leading rebounder Royce White battling foul trouble, McGee pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

“I challenged our guards when we were getting outrebounded at halftime,” Hoiberg said. “I challenged them to get in there and get some and [McGee] walks away with nine, eight on the defensive end, and that was a huge key to this game.”

McGee buried five of his nine shots from 3-point range on Wednesday, a milestone he hit 11 times last season at Cowley County Community College, but something that was a first for him in an ISU uniform.

“The thing I love about Tyrus, he ain’t afraid,” Hoiberg said. “He’ll step up and shoot that thing at any time. Coming down the court, flying down, nobody picked him up and he stepped up and hit a huge one to tie it.”

Wednesday wasn’t the first time McGee’s play on both ends of the floor paved the way for an ISU victory. Against Central Michigan on Dec. 18, McGee took a steal down the middle of the floor for a dunk late in the second half, triggering a 9-2 run that sealed a 59-52 ISU win.

“Sometimes you have [good] nights and sometimes you have bad nights,” McGee said. “But tonight I guess I have to say it was my night.”