Three takeaways: Cyclones pound Western Illinois

Iowa State freshman Lindell Wigginton takes a free throw during the second half against Western Illinois. Wigginton lead the Cyclones in scoring during the victory.

Aaron Marner

Iowa State walked out of Hilton Coliseum with a 70-45 win over Western Illinois Saturday night. Here are three takeaways from the win.

Freshmen take over

Freshman guard Lindell Wigginton has already shown off some of his ability this year, but Saturday night, he was joined by fellow freshmen Cameron Lard and Terrence Lewis.

Wigginton led the team with a career-high 21 points (8-for-16 shooting). Lard finished second on the team with 14 (7-of-9) and Lewis was third with 12 points (5-of-10).

“My coaches told me to be aggressive, my teammates told me to be aggressive,” Wigginton said. “The first couple games, I really felt like I never played my game. My teammates and coaches just got on me to stay in the gym and keep being aggressive and stay confident.”

Wigginton’s production was much-needed after the Cyclones were left short-handed Saturday.

Sophomore Jakolby Long missed the game and recent practices while dealing with the concussion protocol from an injury sustained in practice. Michael Jacobson missed practices as well with a minor injury, leaving the team short-handed and in need of players to step up.

“We were actually, in one practice, we had eight guys,” said coach Steve Prohm. “When you get to eight in basketball in practice that’s not a lot of guys.”

That’s where the freshmen came in.

“I was glad to see those guys play well and do some good things, especially in the second half,” Prohm said.

Second half dominance

Speaking of the second half, Iowa State controlled the final 20 minutes from start to finish.

The three freshmen combined for 38 of Iowa State’s 41 points in the second half.

The team as a whole won the half 41-20, thanks in large part to strong defense. Western Illinois shot just 9-for-30 in the second half, good for only 30 percent from the floor. The Leathernecks also didn’t get to the free throw line in the second half and turned the ball over eight times.

“I think honestly we just played with more energy,” said redshirt junior Nick Weiler-Babb of the second half. “We played some better defense. We got a couple shot clock violations. We were just making more hustle plays than we did in the first half.”

Post presence improves

Iowa State hasn’t had much production in the paint this season. Entering the game, Iowa State’s three leading scorers were all guards.

While Weiler-Babb, Wigginton and Donovan Jackson are still the three leading scorers, Lard was able to give the Cyclones something they’ve struggled to find; a post scorer.

He scored 14 points and helped Iowa State win the points-in-the-paint battle, 28-16. He and Jeff Beverly combined for eight offensive boards, which is double the four offensive rebounds Western Illinois had as a team.

All in all, Iowa State grabbed 34 of a possible 38 rebounds on the defensive glass.

“That’s our goal,” Prohm said. “You want to be really under 25 percent of offensive rebounds [allowed]… that’s a goal we have every game. We’ve rebounded better this year and we’ve got to continue to do that so we can run.”

Lard and some of the guards got easy points in transition after the Cyclones cleared the ball quickly from missed shots and turnovers.

“That’s big-time for us,” Lard said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do because we’ve still got to build a whole lot of chemistry together, but that’s what coach is emphasizing hard right now for the bigs: run, run, run, every possession.”