Men’s basketball wins Tribune Cyclone Classic

Jordan Gizzarelli

The ISU men’s basketball team played host to Western Illinois, Southern University and Southern Mississippi as part of The Tribune Cyclone Challenge and once again took home the title.

Along the way, the Cyclones managed to set a new school record for consecutive home wins.

Sparked by the play of freshman Jake Sullivan, and tournament MVP Jamaal Tinsley, the Cyclones escaped a scare from Southern Mississippi and extended their home winning streak to 24 games.The first game of the tournament Friday night matched Western Illinois against Southern Mississippi. The game was never much of a contest, as Southern Miss took a commanding 23-6 lead with 8:12 remaining and never looked back.

The Golden Eagles led, 38-14 at the 4:26 point in the first half, and took a 41-24 lead into the locker room. The second half was more of the same for the Leathernecks. They saw Southern Miss build its lead up to 33 points, and eventually close the game with an 84-51 triumph.

Matt Robins scored 12 points to lead Western Illinois in scoring, and Elvin Mims poured in 22 points to lead Southern Miss.

The second game of the evening was a “coming out party” for ISU freshmen guard Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan tied a school record for three-point shooting percentage in a game, going five of six from three-point land and scoring 19 points in the process.

Sullivan became the first freshman to lead Iowa State in scoring since Marcus Fizer back in the 1997-98 season.

Jamaal Tinsley notched a double-double for the Cyclones, scoring 13 points and handing out 10 assists, and Kantrail Horton connected on three of five three-pointers finishing with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Devan Clark led the Jaguars with 14 points, but the Cyclones were just too much and went on to win 94-62.

Saturday’s consolation game pitted Western Illinois against Southern University in the first game of the night. Western put out their best effort so far this year against the Jags, but to no avail as Courtney Henderson’s tournament-high 32 points lifted Southern to a 94-76 victory.

Shannon Bennett grabbed a tournament-high 18 rebounds for Southern. Matt Robins again led Western Illinois in scoring with 16 points and got some help down low from Jamel Richardson, who added 15 points.

The tournament finale was a wild one from the start, as Conference-USA up-and-comer Southern Mississippi gained an early 12-2 advantage over Iowa State just four minutes into the game. David Wall dropped in 14 points in the first half for the visitors, before a stunned Hilton Coliseum crowd.

Iowa State fought hard behind Tyray Pearson’s seven first-half points, but the Golden Eagles seemed to have an answer for everything the Cyclones tried to do and carried a slim 35-32 edge into halftime.

In the second half, Jamaal Tinsley showed why he is considered by many as the best player in all of college basketball.

The senior point guard went right to work in the second frame, dishing the ball to Martin Rancik to tie the score at 38 a piece with 18:05 remaining. Following Rancik’s dunk, Tinsley poked the ball away from Brad Richardson and went coast-to-coast to give Iowa State its first lead of the evening, 40-38.

Tinsley continued to dominate hopeless defenders, feeding Tyray Pearson for the hoop and the foul, followed by a three-pointer of his own.

On defense, Tinsley blocked a Southern Miss attempt off the glass and went the other way dribbling the ball between his legs, spinning, and laying the ball in for ISU’s largest lead of the game, 48-40 at the 14:35 mark.

Behind 10 points from Elvin Mims , Southern Miss went on a 12-2 run of its own and grabbed a 52-50 lead with 11:29 remaining. The two teams battled back and forth for the next ten minutes, and a Wall lay-in at the 2:00 mark cut ISU’s lead to just one.

Tinsley put the Cylcones up 68-65 with a basket in the lane, but a foul by Sullivan put Mel Cauthen at the line shooting two. Cauthen knocked down both to help the Golden Eagles again close within one.

Tinsley again drove the lane, this time drawing contact and a foul on Vandarel Jones.

With just :35.9 to go in the game, Tinsley made the first of two free throw attempts, and Southern Miss went the other way off the rebound hoping to tie.

The ball was again in Wall’s hands, but as he drove left off the wing, he stepped over the baseline and turned the ball back over to Iowa State with :21 seconds remaining.

Wall immediately fouled Horton, who missed the front end of a one-and-one attempt, and gave the ball back to Southern Miss with :15 seconds showing on the clock. The Cyclones were still holding a 69-67 lead.

Following a timeout, Cauthen drove the lane but was blocked by Cyclone big man Paul Shirley.

Richard Evans rebounded the ball for the Cyclones and was fouled with :07 seconds left.

Evans stepped to the line and missed both of his attempts, giving Southern Miss one last chance. The ball was inbounded to Cauthen, who brought the ball up court and pulled up on the left elbow. Cauthen’s shot fell short, and the Cyclones held on for a 69-67 win.

Tinsley finished the game with 21 points, five rebounds, three steals and a block. Sullivan added 12 points and a team-high six rebounds, and Pearson chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.

Wall led the visitors with 21 points, and Mims grabbed 11 rebounds along with 18 points.

“We got better,” said ISU head coach Larry Eustachy of his team’s play this weekend, “and we found out where we’re at tonight against a team that’s very good.”

Following the game, the all-tournament team was announced with Jamaal Tinsley garnering MVP honors.

Joining Tinsley were fellow Cyclones Sullivan and Pearson, Henderson of Southern and Mims and Wall of Southern Miss.