Cyclones hold off Hawkeyes
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
AMES — If Iowa State freshman Lindell Wigginton’s Cy-Hawk debut was any indication, Iowa might its hands full with the Cyclones’ newest star for years to come.
Wigginton scored 24 points, becoming the first Cyclones freshman with at least 20 in three straight games since Marcus Fizer, and Iowa State held off rival Iowa 84-78 on Thursday night.
Nick Weiler-Babb had 15 points and 10 assists for the Cyclones (6-2), who’ve won six in a row after a 0-2 start.
“I think we can surprise some people, and I learned that when things are tough, that they can respond. I learned that we’ve got good character. If you’ve got character, ability and toughness, you can do special things,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said.
Neither team could get separation for much of a game that featured 17 lead changes and seven ties. But Wigginton followed a corner 3 by Donovan Jackson with one of his own, putting Iowa State ahead 72-63 with 6:15 left — a lead the Cyclones would not relinquish.
Jack Nunge pulled the Hawkeyes within 79-76 on a jumper with 28 seconds to go. But that’s as close as they would get, as free throws by Hans Brase and Weiler-Babb clinched Iowa State’s eighth consecutive home win over Iowa.
Weiler-Babb, who only moved to point guard last month, has had at least 10 assists in four consecutive games.
“I’ve got confidence in all the guys on the court,” Weiler-Babb said. “We just stuck together.”
Jordan Bohannon hit five 3s and had 19 points and Nunge added 16 for the Hawkeyes (4-6), who’ve dropped six of their last seven.
Iowa outrebounded the Cyclones 53-31. But it also committed 18 turnovers and shot a ghastly 1 of 8 from the free throw line.
“The effort was there. The execution was not at times,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “You look at the stats. 53 to 31 on the glass, you’re supposed to win. But 12 turnovers in the second half, 18 turnovers leading to 28 points, that’s why we lost.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Iowa: The young Hawkeyes finally looked like a team that could win a few games in the Big Ten. They crashed the boards for 20 offensive rebounds, and Bohannon found his 3-point stroke. But Iowa hasn’t won a game in Hilton Coliseum in 14 years for a reason. It’s a tough place to play — especially when the crowd is as into the game as it was on Thursday.
Iowa State: The Cyclones still have a ways to go if they hope to compete for a decent record in Big 12 play. But they’re getting better with every game, and the resilience Iowa State showed in beating back the pesky Hawks will come in handy this winter.
The Cyclones trailed by five at halftime before clawing back early in the second half. Wigginton fought through the lane and was fouled on a layup that hung on the rim for a split second before falling in. That gave Iowa State a 48-47 lead — and sent a sellout crowd into a fury. “I was just trying to be aggressive,” Wigginton said. “A guy hit me on the arm. I just threw it up, and it went in.”
Iowa gave junior guard Brady Ellingson his first career start. The Hawkeyes also gave Nunge, a freshman, his third career start while pushing fellow newcomer Luka Garza to the bench for the first time in his young career. It was Iowa’s fifth different lineup in six games. Ellingson scored just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting, and Garza played just seven minutes.
Iowa State went 15 of 20 from the line. …Jackson had 12 points, but on 4 of 13 shooting. …Cordell Pemsl, an Iowa native, had 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Iowa before taking a hard spill into the Iowa State student section late in the game.
Iowa plays Southern in Iowa City on Sunday.
Iowa State hosts Alcorn State on Sunday.