Mar 21, 2019; Tulsa, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Marial Shayok (left) and guard Nick Weiler-Babb and guard Lindell Wigginton (right) answer questions during a press conference before the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
THE MODERATOR: Marial, this is for you. What have you been able to tell your teammates about what you were able to do at Virginia and how that was related to success at Iowa State?
MARIAL SHAYOK: I’ve been telling these guys we have to bring energy, stay together, and take every moment, take it in. Then when we’re having fun and being together, I think we’re hard to beat. So, got to keep that up.
Nick, the success that you were able to experience a couple years ago with this team, how has that helped you personally and what have you able to tell your guys about what it takes to get to the Sweet 16?
NICK WEILER-BABB: That group of guys we had really great senior leadership. I think that’s one thing me and Marial actually try to focus as seniors. Making sure we’re together. When we’re together we’re really a tough team to beat. We got to stick to it, stick to each other when times get tough through the ups and downs.
Marial, if you would talk a little bit about what you’ve seen from Ohio State and what you remember in the games you played against Ohio State when you were at Virginia?
MARIAL SHAYOK: They have a pretty dominant big man. That’s one of our main focuses this week of making it tough for him. My past experience they were a totally different team. Their guard play was a lot more focused on that a lot more when I played them back at Virginia. It’s a different team. Not really much I can take from those Virginia games
Lindell, Kansas City was a great weekend for Iowa State. Seemed like the smile on your face was a little bit bigger through that whole stretch. I don’t think it was just about winning. Can you comment about that?
LINDELL WIGGINTON: We came together as a team. Everybody stuck together. I was proud of that, because a couple weeks back, we were kind of separate and that’s what led to our losing. Everybody came together and everybody stepped up in a big way and contributed to what they had to contribute, and that’s the main thing why I was so happy.
Lindell and Marial, March Madness this time of the year is awesome in the United States. What’s going on in Canada right now related to March Madness? What does it mean to the two of you and to your families and fan bases back in Canada?
LINDELL WIGGINTON: Well, it means a lot. Just us getting the opportunity, you know, to be from Canada and come to the U.S. and playing March Madness is great. I know our people back home are watching, supporting us through the whole thing. I don’t know what else is going on back in Canada right now. I know everybody back home is supporting us for sure.
MARIAL SHAYOK: I think we got a pretty big support group in Canada just because we’re from two different places. I’m sure both of our cities are representing us the right way. I think we have two Canadians on our team that have a big impact on this program and really helps our support group. I think we have a good number of support systems back there.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the Cyclones of Iowa State?
All right, Gentlemen. Thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.
As advertised, the head coach of the Cyclones is here, Steve Prohm. We’re going to ask him to make a statement on his team being here in Tulsa and then we’ll go to questions.
STEVE PROHM: First off, just great to be here and thanks to the City of Tulsa and the NCAA. Pleased to be part of this tournament. Really looking forward to a great weekend. Excited for our challenge tomorrow night against Ohio State. Open up for questions.
Steve, what were some of the things that you can think of off the top of your have head in the conference tournament that clicked to well to get on the roll that your team got on?
STEVE PROHM: You look at our defensive numbers. I think in the stretch we played — really three-fourths of the season we played really well. The last first — first 25 games we were 19 – 6. Really the last six games we went 1 – 5, but our defensive numbers were really poor, especially the 3-point line with 42 percent defensive field goal percentage.
In Kansas City, we were 39 percent in the field, 29 – 3, plus one rebound, gave up 63 points a game. That’s why we were we were very, very successful down there. So we’ve got to hopefully transcend that to Tulsa now this weekend and do it on the defensive end. Guys were connected, played the right way, selfless on offense, but defense we had an identity on defense again.
If I could follow-up, talk specifically about Ohio State and what you see from them and what your biggest concerns are about Ohio State.
STEVE PROHM: Chris has obviously had a lot of success at Butler and first two years there at Ohio State. I think the biggest concern — the great thing is right away when you see Ohio State catches your guy’s attention right away, Big Ten, obviously great respect for that league and for their program. Kaleb Wesson is number one. That’s what people talk about, the size, the physicality, ability to score, how you going to defend him. You have to make a decision on that. But they also got some other guys I think that are playing really well right now.
Woods is playing terrific. JC Jackson is playing really well. And so we’ve got to do a really good job on those guys. We can’t get spread out. You know, defensively we’ve got to have a great identity again. We’ve got to guard the post, ball screen defense and finish plays. But Kaleb is the big key, but I think they’ve got some other pieces around that have some experience from a really good team last year like I touched on with Andre and CJ. We have to do a great job with those guys as well.
How did winning the Big 12 tournament by winning games in different ways, shot great the first game and then couldn’t make shots really a lot the other games but you toughed it out. How important is that heading into the NCAA Tournament?
STEVE PROHM: I think one of the moments the great part of the Kansas State game we’re down 5 with three minutes to go. We call timeout and Nick gets fouled and makes two free throws. I think it shows our guys, whatever position we are in the tournament, we got to
keep playing. We got to keep grounded, stay focused on the next four minutes. Stay focused defensively and then the offense will come.
And like you said, I think we touched on, we won the Baylor game a certain way. I thought we guarded well. We were really good offensively against them. Kansas State the second half was just a fistfight. We won a lot of different ways. It shows us we can win different ways. In tournament play, you’ll have to play in the half court. We’ve got to be dialed in, not just offensive execution but defensive execution.
I think the guys have great confidence, and obviously playing against Ohio State, I think our vision and focus will be really good which is important in the tournament setting.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the head coach?
STEVE PROHM: Got anything, James? Are you sure?
THE MODERATOR: Practice awaits. Thank you very much. And best of luck, Steve.