AMES | Iowa State brought out its varsity team on Wednesday — a team coach Steve Prohm wants to see more of.
The Cyclones’ roster is filled with talent — albeit inexperienced talent. Iowa State showed what it can look like when everyone plays their best game on the same night.
Iowa State (12-9, 3-6 Big 12) beat No. 11 West Virginia (16-6, 5-4 Big 12) 93-77 in Hilton Coliseum.
“We have two teams, our varsity team and our JV team,” Prohm said. “We need the varsity team a lot more than we need our JV team.”
The Cyclones shot 62 percent from the floor and 55 percent from 3-point range. Iowa State had four players in double figures with Donovan Jackson and Lindell Wigginton leading the way with 25 points and 22 points, respectively.
But the points weren’t what Prohm noticed.
“Lindell has all the ability in the world,” Prohm said. “What I saw tonight from him and Donovan is, ‘Hey man, coach me. Talk to me. Help me.’ When we made mistakes, we accepted responsibility and accountability. That’s steps in becoming a man and a leader.”
Wigginton was matched up with West Virginia’s Jevon Carter. The two guarded each other nearly the entire night.
Wigginton finished with 22 points on 7-14 shooting from the field and 3-5 shooting from 3-point range. Carter finished with 18 points on 7-17 shooting and 2-8 shooting from beyond the arch. Carter — West Virginia all-time leader in steals —only forced two turnovers on Wigginton.
“[The battle] was good,” Wigginton said. “He’s a great player and great defender. I wanted to go up against him. I wanted to test where I’m at.”
Did Wigginton felt like he passed the test?
“I felt like I did pretty well, we came up with the [win], so,” Wigginton said with a shoulder shrug.
West Virginia’s infamous press didn’t seem to affect Iowa State at all.
Iowa State used Wigginton, Jackson and Zoran Talley to break the press.
Combined, they had six turnovers. As a team, Iowa State only had eight turnovers, which was a season low for teams playing against West Virginia.
Iowa State routinely kicked the ball up the court, which led to a lot of open looks.
“We were just flowing,” Jackson said. “The offense was just easy – everybody was sharing the ball, and that’s what makes the offense flow. If everybody passes the ball, shots just open up and appear.”
The Cyclones had 20 assists on 36 made baskets. Iowa State’s season high for assists was 22 against Northern Illinois.
Many of those assists went to forwards Cameron Lard and Solomon Young. They both finished with double-doubles. Lard had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Young had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“Those guys were great on the glass tonight,” Prohm said. “We played them together, we played Zoran at the 4 and kept one in and subbed one for the other. Those guys were terrific. Cameron, he runs the floor and if we can continue to grow his fundamentals around the basket. He ran, he finishes, he had two up-and-under dipsy-doo shots. Solomon man, he was competing and fighting and trying to get his hands on balls. Those guys just competed at a high level.”
The way his team competed was what Prohm was most proud of. That’s what he wants to carry over to the rest of the games. He knows shots aren’t always going to fall like they did on Wednesday.
“I think we’re one of the three youngest teams in the Power 5 leagues,” Prohm said. “We’ve got [the fight]. We’ve showed it — Texas Tech, Baylor — we showed it at Kansas in a loss. I thought tonight was the first time they we were really locked in.”