Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones win an OT thriller in Stillwater

Caleb+Grill+plays+against+TCU+on+Jan.+22+in+Hilton+Coliseum.

Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Caleb Grill plays against TCU on Jan. 22 in Hilton Coliseum.

James Powell

Just another night in the Big 12.

A conference that has already seen its fair share of close, hotly-contested games got another dandy in Stillwater Wednesday as No. 23 Iowa State pulled out a 84-81 win against Oklahoma State.

The Cyclones move to 3-5 in the conference and snap their two-game losing streak. They also win their first Big 12 road game since Feb. 16, 2019.

They did it thanks to a bounce-back performance from deep, another heroic night from their star, Izaiah Brockington and some timely makes from their guards.

Three-point shooting 

T.J. Otzelberger knows his team is never going to light up the scoreboard with high shooting percentages. That being said, the Cyclones left a lot to be desired after an abysmal night from three-point range against TCU on Saturday (3-26 shooting).

He was looking for more, and he got it.

Iowa State shot 53 percent overall and made 12 of its 28 threes, good for a respectable 43 percent against the Cowboys. It was one of the team’s better nights shooting all year, and they got it from their usual suspects.

Caleb Grill came into the game leading his team in three-pointers made and second in percentage and quantity of shots taken from deep. He’s had stellar nights shooting on the road already this season, and this one was right up there with the rest.

He made five of his seven threes, good for 71 percent. It was the only type of shot he attempted all game, but he made them count particularly in the second half where he made three of five.

In addition, Brockington contributed a 3-4 night from long range and Tyrese Hunter made three of his eight attempts.

The only Cyclone to attempt more than two was Gabe Kalscheur, who had another rough night shooting, making zero of his six attempts and just four of 11 overall.

All in all, it was a far cry from the team that Hilton Coliseum saw last time out, and it was the Cyclones’ offense that kept them afloat at times, as opposed to their usual formula of defense-first basketball.

Brockington shines again

Another game, another stupendous effort from the Penn State transfer.

Brockington had 26 points on 11-20 shooting. He only had two rebounds and one assist, but his scoring was much needed at times in the second half as the Cyclones fought to hang around.

His biggest baskets included a jump-shot to tie the game at 70 with about 20 seconds remaining, as well as a three-pointer to put his team up four with just under two minutes to play in overtime.

Brockington has been the lone source of Cyclone offense for Otzelberger more times than not so far this season, and he delivered another performance to help bring his team a victory.

Guards come to play

Grill and Brockington’s contributions to the game have already been well-documented, but it was the two Cyclone point guards that made as big a difference as any in the closing moments, both for better and for worse.

Hunter poured in 18 points, four rebounds and four assists and Tre Jackson scored five. It was Hunter who was trusted with the ball late in regulation and overtime, and he had three turnovers combined in the last 30 seconds of each frame that gave the Cowboys a fighting chance.

During the overtime period, however, is when Hunter truly made his mark in a positive manner.

He scored a driving layup through contact to put his team ahead with 2:56 to go in overtime and soared in for a highlight-reel dunk to stretch the lead to three just 27 seconds later.

Hunter has gotten the keys to his team’s offense from the very first game, which could be seen as rare for a freshman point guard. He showed just how much of a roller-coaster that can cause in the late stages of the game.

It was Jackson, however, who sealed the game for his team as he was fouled with 11 seconds to go in overtime, with Iowa State up by one. 

Jackson had yet to attempt a free-throw this season and had shot just twice in the game up until then. He calmly knocked down both free-throws and put his team up three, 84-81, and made the Cowboys attempt and miss tough looks to close out the game.

As a whole, Iowa State picked up a much-needed, hard-fought win to move to 15-5 as it looks ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday when the team welcomes Missouri to Hilton Coliseum.