If there is a player in college basketball who makes a bigger impact on winning than Tyrese Haliburton, I have yet to see him.
The Cyclones’ sensational sophomore point guard proved how impactful he is to his team again on Thursday during the team’s 104-89 win over Alabama while stuffing the stat sheet in true Thanksgiving fashion. Haliburton finished one assist shy of the sixth triple-double in Iowa State history with 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Cyclones into the fifth and sixth place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Friday against the loser of Seton Hall and Southern Mississippi.
The Crimson Tide got off to a fast and furious start jumping out to an early 14-4 lead, but the Cyclones’ best shooting performance of the season was enough to help Iowa State build a 15-point halftime lead.
Iowa State knocked down 15-of-29 3-pointers (51.7 percent) to finally break through the shooting woes that have ailed the team over the last several weeks. Perhaps the biggest benefactor of the flip in shooting success was Rasir Bolton, who played the best game of his, thus far, short Cyclone career, scoring 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 5-of-7 from deep.
Prentiss Nixon, Mike Jacobson and George Conditt each joined Haliburton and Bolton in double-figures scoring with 15, 11 and 11 points, respectively. Jacobson also contributed eight rebounds while Conditt continue his stellar play so far this season with four rebounds and four blocks.
The Cyclones were able to finish with the dominant win even despite Alabama’s John Petty finishing with 34 points including a 6-of-9 shooting performance from 3-point range.
But, as good as Petty, Bolton and several others were, this was the Tyrese Haliburton show until the final moments as he continued to show why he most likely will be a first round pick in next June’s NBA Draft and deserves recognition to potentially be an All-American at the end of the year.
If there is a player who impacts his team’s success more than Haliburton, I have yet to see him. I have not seen a better point guard yet this season, either.