Cyclones pull away in opener
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
AMES — Transfers Michael Jacobson and Marial Shayok gave Iowa State the instant impact it was hoping for in its opener.
The Cyclones will need more of that for the rest of the month with sophomore Cam Lard — and, surprisingly, senior reserve Zoran Talley — suspended until at least December.
Jacobson, the former Nebraska forward, led four players in double digits with a career-high 17 points, Shayok had 14 in his debut after three years at Virginia and Iowa State rolled past Alabama State 79-53 on Tuesday night.
Guard Lindell Wigginton chipped in with 13 for the Cyclones (1-0), who’ll get their first major test on Friday when Missouri, their old Big 12 rivals, visit Hilton Coliseum.
Lard was on the bench but not in uniform after spending much of the summer at a wellness center following some legal issues. Lard averaged 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds a game in 2017-18, and his presence will be crucial for a team that missed the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said he’ll re-evaluate Lard and Talley’s status after the team returns from the Maui Invitational later this month.
“With Cameron, first and foremost it’s my job — and not just as a basketball coach here, but as a leader of men — to continue to challenge him to grow…he’s making good strides. Really, really good strides,” Prohm said. “But, there’s accountability for actions.”
As for the game itself, Shayok scored eight points in the opening 2:10 to help the Cyclones take an early double-digit lead it never came close to relinquishing.
Iowa State struggled at times from there as it worked freshmen Talen Horton-Tucker, Tyrese Haliburton, George Conditt IV and Zion Griffin into the rotation for the first time. But a lineup featuring Haliburton, Lewis and Griffin sparked a late 19-5 run, with Haliburton canning a 3 to make it 65-41 with just over six minutes left.
Haliburton scored 12 points in 29 minutes.
“I thought our energy with that one group in the second half was a big difference,” Prohm said.
Reginald Gee had 15 points to lead Alabama State (0-1).
THE BIG PICTURE
Iowa State: Horton-Tucker started, but he got off to a very sluggish start in his debut. He missed six of his first seven shots — including four 3s — and finished 3-of-12 shooting for six points. Horton-Tucker went 0 for 5 on 3s, but Prohm said he’s been shooting about 40 percennt beyond the arc. Shayok, on the other hand, looked like the perimeter threat the Cyclones had been searching for, adding six rebounds and three assists.
Alabama State: The Cyclones will likely prove to be the toughest team the Hornets, coming off back-to-back 8-23 seasons, will play all year. At least they got it out of the way as soon as possible.
Haliburton, the 6-foot-5 but rail-thin point guard out of Wisconsin, was the first player off the bench for the Cyclones. Haliburton showed impressive length and slashing ability, and he also finished with four assists and four steals. The 6-foot-10 Conditt had five points and four blocks in 14 minutes and Griffin, who didn’t play until the second half after battling knee issues all summer, had four rebounds.
The Hornets actually gave Iowa State a bit of trouble midway through the first half, pulling to within 24-17. But Jacobson rescued a frantic possession with an elbow 3 and then grabbed a loose ball in the paint for an easy basket. Wigginton followed with a 3 and the outcome was never in doubt from there — though, to be fair, it never really was to begin with.
HE SAID IT
“I’m just going to try and keep bringing the energy that I have and the leadership that I can bring. We’re obviously going to need some guys to step up,” Jacobson said about Iowa State’s frontcourt depth. The Cyclones are also without former starting center Solomon Young, who is out with a groin strain.
Iowa State hosts the Tigers on Nov. 9.
Alabama State plays at South Dakota State on Thursday.