Three takeaways: Iowa State not thrilled after 20-point win

Terrence Lewis, guard, looks for an open pass during the men’s basketball game against Alcorn State on Dec. 10 at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones won 78-58.

Aaron Marner

Iowa State defeated Alcorn State Sunday night, 78-58. Here are three of the biggest takeaways from the game.

Rebounding shows signs of life

Iowa State struggled mightily on the glass last week in the win over Iowa. The Cyclones gave up 22 more rebounds than they got themselves.

But that changed against Alcorn State.

Led by Cameron Lard with 11 and Hans Brase with nine, the Cyclones destroyed the Braves on the boards.

Iowa State grabbed 22 of its own missed shots, while Alcorn State only grabbed 17 of them. It’s pretty rare to have more offensive rebounds than the other team has defensive rebounds. Duke currently leads the nation with an offensive rebounding percentage of 43 percent, and last year the nation was led by North Carolina at 41.4 percent.

Grabbing that many offensive boards was a big benefit for Iowa State, as the Cyclones ended the game with a 16-6 edge in second chance points.

Wigginton, Lard continue to impress

Throughout this young season, Iowa State’s three freshmen have repeatedly made plays most freshmen can’t make.

Led by Lindell Wigginton, the freshmen have shown an ability to make a difference even in limited playing time.

Wigginton finished with 16 points against Alcorn State on 4-for-10 shooting (3-of-5 on 3-pointers). He also chipped in five rebounds and three assists.

Cameron Lard’s performance didn’t go unnoticed, either.

“I just looked at these stats and in 19 minutes he gets 15 [points] and 11 [rebounds],” Prohm said. “We just want to continue to teach him and to coach him the right way.”

His rebounding numbers have steadily improved all year. Since he hasn’t played enough minutes, he doesn’t qualify for many national statistical leaderboards, but his 17.5 percent offensive rebounding percentage would be among the nation’s best. Jeff Beverly’s 12.6 percent ranks 102nd nationally among qualified players.

Only six qualified players have offensive rebounding percentages higher than Lard’s 17.5 percent.

“He’s barely at the surface of what he can be,” Prohm said.

Lard isn’t in the starting lineup yet, but if he continues to play with that amount of effort and he rebounds as well as he did Sunday, he will certainly see an increase in playing time and could fight for a starting job.

Terrence Lewis also had a decent outing. He didn’t shoot well (1-for-8 from the field) but he grabbed four rebounds in 14 minutes. One of them came on a loose ball in which Lewis chased the ball down in the corner and saved it from going out of bounds, extending Iowa State’s possession.

Cyclones not satisfied

Iowa State won comfortably, but nobody on the team seemed too happy. Prohm made it clear he thought it was a learning moment.

“I don’t think we were ready to play,” said leading scorer Donovan Jackson.

Iowa State has just two non-conference games remaining before the Big 12 opener on Dec. 29, so time is running out to start playing consistently.

The Cyclones frequently fall behind in the first halves of games, only to crawl back and eventually take the lead with a big run in the second half. That’s been the trend all season, but that won’t cut it when Big 12 play starts.

The Big 12 is currently rated as the best conference in the nation per KenPom. Ranked No. 63 out of 351 teams, Iowa State is also the worst-rated team per KenPom in the Big 12. The median ranking for Big 12 teams as of Sunday night is 25th, and the top seven teams all fall in the top 27 nationally.

That means Iowa State has 14 more regular season games against top-30 teams, and that doesn’t include a matchup with No. 23 Tennessee during the Big 12 – SEC Challenge in late January.

Iowa State needs to figure out how to play a full 40 minutes before the stronger competition shows up in two weeks.