Iowa State came to a fork in the road when it learned it would be without junior Nick Weiler-Babb for possibly a couple weeks. Wilt away or flourish in spite of it.
On this night against 15th-ranked West Virginia, the Cyclones flourished.
ISU beat West Virginia 93-77 on Wednesday night in Hilton Coliseum, claiming its third conference victory less than a week after getting embarrassed by Tennessee.
Senior Donovan Jackson and freshman Lindell Wigginton, who split primary point guard duties in Weiler-Babb’s absence, finished with 25 and 22 points, respectively. They combined for 12 assists. Zoran Talley Jr. also acted as a ballhandler and added seven points with five assists. Cameron Lard and Solomon Young each had double doubles.
The Cyclones (12-9, 3-6) shot 62 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers against the press-heavy Mountaineers (16-6, 5-4). West Virginia struggled to find much rhythm offensively and never held a lead.
ISU raced out to a 25-15 lead in the first nine minutes and shot 10 of 13 during that span. West Virginia countered with a 7-0 run to cut its lead and ultimately tied it at 29-all with less than eight minutes to go in the first half.
The Cyclones responded. They went on a 9-0 run in less than two minutes to push ahead and jumped out to a 53-43 lead at halftime.
West Virginia tried to reel its deficit during the second half, but ISU’s guard play — and energy from Cameron Lard and Solomon Young around the block — kept the Mountaineers at bay.
ISU stretched its lead to 88-70 with less than three minutes to go on a 6-0 run. West Virginia was 0 for 7 from the field and on a 2 minute, 10 second scoring drought over that span.
It was the first win for ISU against West Virginia in Hilton Coliseum since 2015.
ISU plays at Baylor on Saturday at 7 p.m. (ESPN2).