Three takeaways: Iowa State has opposite halves but same leaders in 80-78 win

Junior Nick Weiler-Babb moving quickly down the court, past the opposing team, to score for the Cyclones at the Hilton Coliseum on Nov. 5.

Brian Mozey

Going into the second half of the Iowa State and Tulsa game, the momentum and energy were in the Cyclones’ favor. An 80-78 win would’ve been a shocker at the half because the lead should’ve been larger for Iowa State.

Here are the three takeaways from tonight’s win against Tulsa:

Iowa State found its leaders, point guards

At the beginning of the season, Iowa State was struggling to find its leaders and a player it could depend on for big shots.

During the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament, the Cyclones found them. 

It’s guards Donovan Jackson and Nick Weiler-Babb. At Iowa State’s media day, that’s who coach Steve Prohm expected to be the leaders this season.

Last night, Jackson scored 26 points and Weiler-Babb had 23 points in the 104-98 win against Appalachian State. The two guards had similar numbers tonight against Tulsa with Jackson having 24 points and Weiler-Babb at 20 points. 

Not only did they score points, they showed a range of skills that help the two of them become well-rounded point guards. 

Weiler-Babb was two assists away from a triple-double. He had 14 rebounds and eight assists, along with two steals and one block. Jackson had one rebound, three assists and two steals tonight. 

The two were also primary targets for the free throw line as they went 13-for-14 on the line, along with four from Jackson and two from Weiler-Babb in the last 30 seconds of the game to close out the victory. 

These two games could be the spark that Jackson and Weiler-Babb need to get in a groove for the upcoming season. 

Jakolby Long, the three master

While Jackson and Weiler-Babb were leading the team, guard Jakolby Long was standing behind the 3-point line waiting patiently for his turn. 

That time came with 5:55 left in the first half and Long shot a three. It missed, but it wouldn’t bring him down for long. Just 37 seconds later, Long would be fouled while hitting a layup. He would convert the three-point play with the free throw. 

Then his appearance came in the last three-and-a-half minutes of the first half. Long would hit not one, not two, not three, but four 3-pointers to end the half, including one with four seconds left on the clock. 

He would finish the night with 17 points while going 6-for-10 in the field and 4-for-6 on the 3-point line. 

Iowa State needed a big run at the end of the first and Long delievered to help the Cyclones with the win. 

Opposite halves

Iowa State was two different teams in each half tonight. The Cyclones started off strong with a nine-point lead at the half due to the shooting ability of Iowa State.

The Cyclones shot 14-for-28, or 50 percent, from the field and 8-for-17, or 47.1 percent, from the 3-point line in the first half. That percentage dropped by about 10 percent in the second half.

Iowa State shot 13-for-33, or 39.4 percent, from the field and 4-for-11, or 36.4 percent, from the 3-point line in the second half. 

That was the same concept for Tulsa too, but its halves were flipped from Iowa State. 

Tulsa ended the first half with a 38.7 percent (12-for-31) from the field and a 33.3 percent (5-for-15) from the 3-point line. That percentage grew tremendously in the second half with a 65.4 percent (17-for-26) from the field and a 100 percent (3-for-3) from the 3-pointer.  

The Cyclones need to play a complete game against Boise State on Sunday if they want any chance at winning the championship. The tip-off of the game will be at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.