Three Takeaways: Iowa State falls to No. 21 West Virginia

Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm looks on as Tennessee shoots free throws during the Cyclones’ 68-45 loss.

Brian Mozey

Iowa State was down 39-30 at the half against No. 21 West Virginia on Saturday night and couldn’t prevail in the second half resulting in its fourth straight loss.

Here are the takeaways from tonight’s 85-70 loss to the Mountaineers in Morgantown, West Virginia. 

Iowa State plays with seven players

Coach Steve Prohm knew the amount of players he was going to have heading into this weekend as Nick Weiler-Babb and Solomon Young were out for probably the rest of this season. Donovan Jackson was back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to attend his father’s funeral after his death last Saturday.

The starting lineup for the Cyclones today included Lindell Wigginton, Zoran Talley Jr., Jeff Beverly, Cameron Lard and Terrence Lewis. It was Lewis’ first start of the season and one of his biggest games regarding minutes.

Hans Brase was limited in playing tonight with only six minutes in the game. He scored zero points and one rebound, so it was pretty much up to the six players to step up throughout the game. The only other player on the bench was Jakolby Long.

Wigginton stepped up for Iowa State with the other big leaders inactive for today’s game. He scored 12 points in the first half going 4-for-11 from the floor. At the end of the game, he scored 29 points on 23 field goal attempts, while also going 4-for-10 from the 3-point line.

This performance beats his last game against the Mountaineers as he had 22 points, five assists and two rebounds. He also improved his numbers from the game last Wednesday against TCU where he had 14 points and five assists.

Lard didn’t take his first field goal attempt until the 3:30 mark in the first half. Even though he wasn’t scoring points, he was productive in other categories with eight rebounds in the first half. In the second half though, he finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. 

Zoran Talley Jr. has overall good performance

The redshirt junior forward has found his spot on the Iowa State team. The last six games, Talley Jr. has averaged 10.3 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game.

That performance didn’t stop in Morgantown, West Virginia, tonight. He ended the game with nine points and three rebounds. He also added nine assists, two steals and one block.

Talley Jr. has continued to improve his game ever since the stress fracture in his foot during the non-conference season. He returned to the Iowa State roster on Jan. 6 at Oklahoma State and it took a few games to find his groove, but these last six games he’s been a player that Prohm can depend on.

With all of the injuries and events going on for the Iowa State roster, Talley Jr. has been a consistent weapon for the Cyclones and will need to continue those numbers for the next couple weeks if Iowa State wants to play in the postseason this season.

Must win next week

Since Iowa State lost to both West Virginia today and TCU on Wednesday, this next week is do or die for the Cyclones. They currently sit at 13-15 overall and 4-12 in the Big 12 Conference.

The Cyclones have no chance of making the NCAA Tournament unless they win the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, from March 7-10. The Big 12 champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but otherwise Iowa State won’t earn a bid.

The next tournament is the NIT, which Iowa State is on the border of getting in with its record. Most teams in the NIT Tournament have at least a .500 record to earn a spot, so Iowa State would need to win both games next week against Oklahoma State and at Oklahoma.

Even with a .500 record, Iowa State might not earn a spot in the tournament, which means its postseason views are becoming more and more dismal with each loss in the regular season. The Cyclones will need to make a big run in the Big 12 Tournament to help their chances in playing past March 10.