Jan 16, 2019; Lubbock, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Marial Shayok (3) shoots the ball against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half at United Supermarkets Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
What. A. Win.
As expected, a grind. As expected, a rock fight. But unexpectedly — to most prognosticators, anyway — now-unranked Iowa State silenced a raucous crowd, beat back a late run and repaired frayed nerves to notch a mammoth 68-64 win Wednesday at No. 8 Texas Tech in Lubbock.
“It just came down to getting stops really,” said freshman guard Tyrese Haliburton, who had six assists, no turnovers and three blocked shots. ” We defended the ball really well. We moved the ball really well.”
Virginia transfer Marial Shayok scored 20 points to lead the Cyclones (13-4, 3-2 Big 12), who essentially canceled out Saturday’s deflating one-point home loss to Kansas State while handing the league-leading Red Raiders (15-2, 4-1) their first home loss of the season.
Michael Jacobson added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Lindell Wigginton — despite shooting struggles — contributed vital energy with 11 points, six rebounds, two assist and two steals.
Gone is ISU’s head-shaking two-game losing streak, and back are the hopes for challenging for a conference title.
“Pure guts,” said Voice of the Cyclones, John Walters, after the final second crept off the clock.
Pure execution, too.
It started at the game’s top, as ISU stitched together a solid first half despite some hot shooting by Tech.
Shayok helped keep the Cyclones in it early, scoring 15 of his team-high 20 points before the break.
ISU struggled to knock down several good looks from 3-point range in the first half, but attacked Tech by driving to the hoop and converting — or getting to the free throw line.
Throughout the first half, the Cyclones took great care of the basketball. Their turnover total in the first 20 minutes? Zero.
That combined with gritty efforts on the defensive end set the stage for a 16-4 close to the first half, which resulted in a 41-33 lead.
But after ISU built a 10-point lead early in the second half off a Jacobson putback basket, the Red Raiders responded with a 7-0 run. The Cyclones lead would swell to 10 once again shortly after that, though, and they never trailed in the second half.
The tensest moment came after Tech star Jarrett Culver converted a layup to tie the score, 61-61 with 1:51 left.
Nick Weiler-Babb answered with a clutch long 2-pointer and Wigginton rose up for a layup off an assist from Tyrese Haliburton to push ISU’s lead back to four with 1:04 left.
“We’ve been playing really well together,” Weiler-Babb, who scored 11 points, told the Cyclone Radio Network after the game. “We can be a really good team, but we’re not going to do it if we’re selfish.”
Tech fell to 43-5 in the Chris Beard era at home — but couldn’t complete the comeback, partly because unlike Saturday, Shayok helped cement the win by going 3-for-4 from the line in the closing moments.
ISU plays host to embattled Oklahoma State at 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
“We’ve got to grow up and not let this affect us,” Haliburton said