Fist pump, team effort guide Iowa State to upset No. 15 West Virginia

Freshman Lindell Wigginton dribbling down the court during the game against West Virginia University at the Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 31.

Brian Mozey

A simple fist pump.

It was all Donovan Jackson needed.

With 6:27 left in the first half, Jackson squared up to the basket and swished a 3-pointer to extend Iowa State’s lead to 34-29. After making the basket, he looked at the fans in Hilton Coliseum and pumped his fist twice before heading back on defense.

Those two pumps made Jackson locked in and he went on to score eight more points and record one more assist to close out a 17-point half.

The fist pumps continued in the second half when Jackson scored a fast break layup with 10:07 left in the game. This time, it wasn’t Jackson that fist pumped. It was Lindell Wigginton and Zoran Talley Jr. who fist pumped in the middle of the court as Iowa State took a 70-58 lead and never looked back.

Finally, the last fist pump came from the bench with Hans Brase after Jackson connected with Solomon Young for an alley-oop with 6:34 left in the game. That dunk put an exclamation point on an already dominant night by the Cyclones as Iowa State took down No. 15 West Virginia with a 93-77 final score.

“We responded,” Jackson said. “We showed Hilton love tonight. That’s for sure.”

There were so many questions coming into tonight’s game for the Cyclones. Would Iowa State be able to play without Nick Weiler-Babb? Would Iowa State be able to break the press of West Virginia?

Yes and yes.

Weiler-Babb was out for tonight’s game due to tendonitis in his knee, so coach Steve Prohm said he needed Wigginton and Jackson to step up and be the point guards. The two responded right away.

Wigginton handled the point guard duties in the beginning of the game and was able to find Jackson open on the 3-point line to get him going. Jackson wasn’t the only one going early. It seemed like the entire team was finding their groove early.

“We were just flowing,” Jackson said. “The offense was coming easy. Everybody was sharing the ball and that’s what makes the offense flow.”

Iowa State ended the first half shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 63.6 percent from the 3-point line. Jackson had 17 points to end the half and Wigginton had 12.

Towards the middle of the first half, Wigginton or Jackson weren’t handling the point guard duties. It was Talley Jr., the 6-foot-7 forward.

Talley Jr. would inbound the ball to either of the guards and then they would dish it back to Talley Jr., so he could get it down the court. It worked like a charm all game and broke the Mountaineer’s press easily and early.

The stat line would read seven points, four rebounds, five assists and one block at the end of the game for Talley Jr., who earned his first start of the season with the absence of Weiler-Babb.

“We were practicing it all week,” Wigginton said on the combination between Talley Jr. and him. “Coach did a great job showing us what to do.”

Along with the success from the 3-point line, where Iowa State shot 10-for-18 (55.6 percent), the Cyclones had two dominant players in the paint. Cameron Lard and Young were nearly perfect tonight from the field.

The two combined to shoot 15-for-18 and Young was a perfect 6-for-6 tonight. They both recorded double-doubles and tried to limit the amount of touches to West Virginia’s big man Sagaba Konate.

Even though Konate had 17 points in the game, the duo allowed him to make only six shots throughout his 33 minutes of play.

Young ended his night with 14 points and 10 rebounds along with two blocks, while Lard had 18 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Lard recorded his 40th block tonight, which tied the Iowa State freshman record with Jared Homan.

“Those guys were great on the glass tonight,” Prohm said. “Those guys were terrific… they competed at a high level and that’s what they need to do because Baylor’s going to be the same way.”

Prohm said today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow, so Iowa State will enjoy the win tonight, but start its focus on Baylor tomorrow.

Confidence is a key thing that Jackson and Lard talked about after the game and how the Cyclones have some confidence heading into Waco, Texas, this weekend. Prohm has spoken about how during the Big 12 season there’s never an easy game.

Now, the focus needs to be on growing from this game and applying it against the Bears this weekend.

“It was about us competing,” Young said. “Competing until the end and just handling adversity. That’s what’s the biggest thing [was]. I think tonight really opened our eyes that we can beat anybody as long as we play the right way.”