Sluggish Cyclones hold off Alcorn State 78-58

AMES, Iowa (AP) The Cyclones might remember Sunday’s game as the ”Hawkeye Hangover”

Iowa State survived anyway, pushing its winning streak to seven games ahead of a key matchup against Northern Iowa.

Donovan Jackson scored 25 points, including a career-high seven 3s, Cameron Lard had 15 points with 11 rebounds and Iowa State held off lowly Alcorn State 78-58.

Lindell Wigginton scored 16 points for the Cyclones (7-2), who were forced to rally from an early 9-point deficit against arguably the worst team on their schedule.

”In the first half, we didn’t play with any energy,” Jackson said. ”In the second half, we knew we couldn’t get beat.”

The Cyclones, fresh off an emotional home win over rival Iowa, were sluggish – to say the least – from the opening tip. Alcorn State (2-8) took advantage, knocking down four of their first five tries from 3-point range for a 14-5 lead.

Though Iowa State eventually grabbed a slim lead, Dante Sterling’s 4-point play with 55.4 seconds left in the first half helped the Braves stay within 33-32 by the break.

Iowa State’s talent eventually won out.

It opened the second half on a 15-3 run, highlighted by 3s from Jackson and Wigginton, to push the lead to 48-35 with 15:33 left. The Cyclones held a relatively comfortable lead for the rest of the game, outscoring the overwhelmed Braves 45-26 in the second half.

”We talked about it the last two days about not having a letdown, a setback. We really tried to fight against that,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. ”Fortunate to win, but without question we have a lot of things to clean up.”

Devon Brewer scored 15 points for Alcorn State.

THE BIG PICTURE:

Iowa State: This edition of the Cyclones isn’t good enough to play unfocused basketball and expect to win – and never was that more evident than on Sunday. Creighton beat this same Alcorn State team by 37, and UNI beat the Braves by 28.

Alcorn State: The Braves haven’t beaten a Division I school in non-conference play since 2012, so this result was hardly a shocker. Alcorn State was also without star senior Reginald Johnson, the preseason SWAC Player of the Year. He broke his right leg last week in a loss at Tulane and is expected to be out for the season.

BRASE FOR IMPACT

The Braves were a breakaway layup from making it a 10-point game with just fewer than five minutes left when senior Hans Brase blocked the shot and got the Cyclones out running for a possession that ended in a Brase 3. Brase, a graduate transfer from Princeton marred by knee issues throughout his career, has been a nice addition to a promising but young frontcourt. He finished with five points, nine rebounds and three blocks. ”Didn’t quit on the play…made a great block,” Prohm said.

KEY NUMBERS

Nick Weiler-Babb’s streak of games with at least 10 assists ended at four. Weiler-Babb had nine assists on Sunday to go with five rebounds and four points. Weiler-Babb also had five turnovers in his worst game since moving to point guard in mid-November …Lard earned his second double-double despite playing just 19 minutes. ”He’s a very talented kid who is barely at the surface of what he can be,” Prohm said. …Alcorn State finished 8 of 26 on 3s despite that hot start.

UP NEXT

Iowa State and Northern Iowa will square off on Saturday in Des Moines.

Alcorn State hosts Fisk on Tuesday.