Nov 24, 2023; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Tamin Lipsey (3) drives to the basket against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second half during the ESPN Events Invitational Semifinal at State Farm Field House. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
CHICAGO — Iowa State point guard Tamin Lipsey knew the score.
Specifically, the late-game box score during the Cyclones’ 99-80 rout of DePaul Friday, which showed he’d scored 15 points, notched 10 assists and grabbed nine rebounds.
Lipsey soared for his 10th board with 1:24 remaining, becoming the first ISU player since Tyrese Haliburton to record a triple-double for the Cyclones.
“I was trying my best without putting myself out of position,” Lipsey said. “And it worked out.”
Just about everything worked offensively for ISU (6-2), which sprang a 21-2 run on the depleted Blue Demons to start the second half. Senior forward Tre King paced the Cyclones with a season-high 24 points, junior guard Keshon Gilbert added 21 points while chipping in seven assists for the second game in a row. The Cyclones shot 56.5 percent from the field as six players scored in double-figures.
“I thought our intent to start the game — certainly the second half — was probably our best stretch as we came out of the locker room,” said ISU head coach T.J. Otzelberger, whose team won its first true road game of the season. “So those are some good things to take away, but we’ve got to have a lot more defensive intent instead of trading baskets. I felt like at times tonight we just got caught up in that game.”
After a solid start, the Cyclones were forced to play catch up in the first half, as DePaul used torrid 3-point shooting to turn a 13-0 run into an 18-8 lead. ISU quickly responded with an 11-0 spurt capped by a Lipsey layup to regain the lead, 24-21, and the Cyclones wouldn’t trail again. Reserve sophomore guard Jackson Paveletzke sparked that flurry, driving for two consecutive baskets before deftly dishing out an assist to a cutting Lipsey. Paveletzke played a season-high 25 minutes and distributed a season-best six assists to his teammates.
“He was a huge positive for us,” Otzelberger said. “We’ve been challenging him and he came and right away, instantly impacted us. He brought the fight right away on defense, guarding the basketball. He was aggressive driving the ball and making plays for his teammates.”
ISU finished with a season-high 29 assists on 39 converted field goals and outscored the Blue Demons 30-to-14 in points off of turnovers. Gilbert, fellow guard Curtis Jones, and freshman forward Milan Momcilovic each drilled a pair of 3-pointers. King’s 24 points came on 10-for-15 shooting as the Cyclones cruised to the Big 12-Big East Battle triumph.
“Going into this game, the biggest thing coach (Otzelberger) talked about was just getting back to us — sharing the ball and playing in the paint,” King said.
ISU had absorbed back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and No. 14 Texas A&M in the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, Fla., so Friday’s win at WinTrust Arena before an overwhelmingly pro-Cyclone crowd served as a salve for those recent mistake-filled setbacks.
“It’s hard to go on the road and win anywhere,” Otzelberger said. “And coming into this environment and coming off the games in Orlando, for our guys to dig deep and play well, it was important. I do think that’s a step, proving to yourself you can win a real road game. We certainly had that happen. We’ve just gotta stay focused on every day at practice, getting better, because this team has a lot of upside and potential of where we can get to. We’re nowhere near that now.”
Lipsey, at least, can hear his name spoken alongside Haliburton, who has emerged as a bona fide NBA star with the Indiana Pacers. And that makes him smile.
“We see what he’s doing in the league right now,” Lipsey said. “So to have my name next to his is just a blessing.”