Steve Prohm apologized for his actions in Cy-Hawk game
Randy Peterson, [email protected]
AMES, Ia — An Iowa State basketball fan can look at what happened in Iowa City Thursday night as a blip in which nothing worked. They can look at the upside that Iowa State is 7-2 and there’s three games remaining before the Jan. 2 Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State, too.
They can take those outlooks and there’s truth to both. But the bottom line after Thursday’s 14-point loss against the Hawkeyes is this: The Cyclones need Lindell Wigginton.
He’s a 40-percent shooter for a perimeter-oriented team that’s making just 32.4 percent of its three-point shots, heading into Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against Southern at Hilton Coliseum.
He makes things easier on the other guards, notably Nick Weiler-Babb.
For Wigginton, that return probably won’t happen Sunday, but Dec. 15 against Drake at Wells Fargo Arena?
“We’re working through some things,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said after Thursday’s game. “We got two new guys back; it’s a little different, but that is not an excuse.
“We’ve played well against good teams with the roster we have. As we add guys, they need to accept their roles and buy in.”
Wigginton’s role will be to drive the transition offense — something that was so lacking Thursday, it threw the entire offense out of kilter.
“What we’ve done a really good job of, to this point, is that the ball moved well. We really shared and moved it,” Prohm said. “(Thursday), I thought the ball got stuck a lot. Our pace wasn’t as good.”
Whether he runs the point — or whether Babb continues to do it — Wigginton can be the additional perimeter scorer Iowa State will desperately need in Big 12 play.
Something else this team needs moving forward is for Cam Lard to play the rest of whatever this season holds, the way he performed in Thursday’s second half.
He ran the floor like a guard and even threw a back-the-behind pass to finish a fastbreak. He played hard before fouling out with 1:20 left in the game.
“The second half, he was good,” Prohm said. “The first half, he wasn’t as engaged as I wanted him to be, but I wanted to give him one more chance — and I thought Cam responded competitively.”
After playing 10 minutes against North Dakota State in the first game since his suspension was lifted, Lard played 11 Thursday, including eight during his high-energy second half.
Gradually, he’s working back into shape. Next is having teammates recognizing him as a viable post scorer.
Iowa State needs him back to averaging 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds like last season. He needs opportunities to show he can make 60.1 percent of his shots, like last season.
An additional post scorer — to go along with Mike Jacobson — just might take some defensive pressure off the perimeter shooters.
Thursday, the Cyclones made 6 of their 23 three-point attempts — which isn’t good for high school teams, let alone Big 12 programs. They’re 20-for-66 over their past three games. In Prohm’s offense, this has to improve.
Don’t confuse Wigginton as the cure-all. He’s another option — to go along with Marial Shayok, Tyrese Haliburton, Babb and Talen Horton-Tucker.
He’ll be a player opponents must guard — whether he’s the guy with the ball, or whether he’s the player to whom Babb passes in transition.
He’s a big missing link right now.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at [email protected] or on Twitter at @RandyPete.