Takeaways: Kansas State rematch looms for resurgent Cyclones

Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Las Angeles Lakers after declaring for the draft early after his freshman campaign at Iowa State.

Aaron Marner

Iowa State’s convincing 83-66 win over Baylor on Thursday was a step in the right direction for a team that limped to the finish line.

With the win, Iowa State is 21-11 on the season.

Offense continues to shine

By now, the story isn’t a secret.

The Cyclones have kept up with the best this season, but when things go wrong, anyone can beat Iowa State.

Thursday, coach Steve Prohm’s “Team A” showed up again.

Freshman guard Talen Horton-Tucker dropped 16 points in the first half en route to a game-high 21. Redshirt senior guard Marial Shayok added 18 of his own. Sophomore guard Lindell Wigginton had 16 points off the bench in 22 minutes.

“On the biggest stage in big games, your best players gotta play great,” Prohm said. “Talen played great, Marial played great, Lindell was great off the bench, but you saw a true team today.”

As a team, the Cyclones hit 51.7 percent of their field goal attempts and 52 percent of their 3-point attempts. Iowa State led for over 31 minutes and trailed for just four.

Prohm said it was the most complete performance he had seen from his team since a Feb. 16 win at Kansas State.

Rotation shortens

Prohm used a smaller rotation Thursday, which could be a sign of things to come the rest of the postseason.

All five of Iowa State’s starters — Shayok, Horton-Tucker, redshirt senior guard Nick Weiler-Babb, freshman guard Tyrese Haliburton and redshirt junior forward Michael Jacobson — played at least 28 minutes. Wigginton played 22 off the bench.

Along with those six, redshirt sophomore forward Cameron Lard saw nine minutes. No other player checked in until the final minutes when both teams emptied the benches with the result in hand.

The Cyclones have stuck with seven and eight-man rotations this season, using redshirt senior forward Zoran Talley Jr. and freshman forward George Conditt IV in spot minutes to fill out the rotation.

“Tyrese made shots,” Prohm said. “Lindell off the bench [too] but collectively our team was bought in and competed the right way.”

1 seed Kansas State on deck

Conference tournament season can be tough, especially in the Big 12.

Each team plays each other twice during the regular season. By round three, teams are familiar.

For the Cyclones, the upcoming game comes against the tournament’s 1 seed — Kansas State.

Iowa State and Kansas State split the season series with each team winning on the other’s home court. In the most recent game, the Cyclones won in Manhattan, Kansas by a 78-64 final score.

In that game, Iowa State lit up the Wildcats from 3-point range. Horton-Tucker knocked down 6-of-9 from beyond the arc and the Cyclones shot 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) as a team from deep.

In the first game, Weiler-Babb (11 points) was the only Cyclone to reach double figures.

Kansas State’s Dean Wade missed the Wildcats’ opening game of the Big 12 Tournament, a 70-61 win over Texas Christian (TCU). Kansas State has said Wade is unlikely to play in the Big 12 Tournament.

The Iowa State vs. Kansas State game will tip off at 6 p.m. Friday.