Horton-Tucker, Shayok provide scoring burst for Cyclones


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Talen Horton-Tucker runs the ball down the court during the game against Texas Southern at Hilton Coliseum on Nov. 12. The Cyclones won 85-73.

Noah Rohlfing

The biggest name of Iowa State’s four freshmen hadn’t had a great offensive start to the season.

Through two games, Talen Horton-Tucker shot 5-for-20 from the field and had hit two of 10 attempted 3-pointers. He was making up for it with tough defensive work — ahead of schedule for a college freshman — but the offensive output hadn’t arrived.

Prohm had said before the Cyclones’ win over Missouri that Horton-Tucker needed to work on his shot selection. On Monday night, the lid fell off the basket for the Chicago native. And once the first shot of the night went down, Horton-Tucker didn’t let up.

It led to the first big game of his Iowa State career: 26 points on an efficient 8-for-14 shooting (5-of-9 from 3-point range), five rebounds and four steals.

“It boosts our confidence and my confidence,” Horton-Tucker said. “My teammates, they kept telling me, ‘Keep shooting, you’re gonna make them.’”

The Cyclones ended their three-game home stretch with an 85-73 win over Texas Southern — a non-conference opponent that beat fellow Big 12 school Baylor in its season opener — to move to 3-0 heading into a tough Maui Invitational slate.

Horton-Tucker was on form. However, the heralded freshman was not the only Cyclone wing to be hitting on all cylinders Monday. Senior Marial Shayok, a Virginia transfer, was step-for-step with Horton-Tucker in scoring with 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting.

All in all, the Cyclones got 52 of their 85 points — 61.1 percent — from their starting wings on a night Iowa State had a grand total of one bench point, courtesy of Zion Griffin.

Prohm warned to temper expectations for Horton-Tucker on a nightly basis, despite the big performance against the Tigers.

“He’s gonna be up and down at times,” Prohm said. “I think it’s everybody’s job to continue to give him confidence.

“I think he’s growing on the defensive end, that’s the biggest thing.”

Without four rotation players for the entirety of November (at the very least), the Cyclones don’t have much in the way of a margin for error. That showed Monday, as a cold streak for Iowa State on the offensive end of the floor led to Texas Southern cutting an 18-point lead down to nine with 11 minutes to play.

Unsurprisingly, Horton-Tucker and Shayok were the catalysts of a Cyclone run to put the game out of the Tigers’ reach and shake the Cyclones out of their slumber. For Iowa State to continue rolling as the level of its competition goes up, the wing duo will have to take on a large scoring burden going forward, if Monday’s game is any indication.

Iowa State has an unblemished record as Maui approaches, but the Cyclones have by no means been perfect.

Prohm said going forward the Cyclones need to make sure everyone gets the right shots, and Shayok called it a lack of focus.

“[Texas Southern], they kept attacking us,” Shayok said. “We gotta do a better job just to stay locked in.”

No matter the level of the opponent, Monday served as Horton-Tucker’s coming out party as a Cyclone, and a reminder of Shayok’s ability. Iowa State might need a few more 20-plus point outings from the two of them before the end of December to keep its season rolling.