Senior transfers Michael Jacobson and Marial Shayok scored 17 and 14 points, respectively, in their Iowa State debuts before giving way to the second unit, helping the Cyclones rout visiting Alabama State, 79-53, in their season opener on Tuesday night.
The first of four Cyclones to reach double figures, Shayok was joined by Jacobson, Lindell Wigginton (13 points) and Tyrese Haliburton (12). Iowa State shot 32 for 67 (47.8 percent) from the floor while finishing 10 for 26 (38.5 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. Wigginton drilled a team-best three treys.
Reginald Gee scored 15 points for the Hornets, while Leon Daniels was next with 11. Branden Johnson snagged a game-high 11 rebounds.
Alabama State pulled to within 10 points with 11:17 remaining in the game before the Cyclones regained control, finishing the night on a 31-15 run. A former contributor to three NCAA Tournament teams at Virginia, Shayok excelled before garbage time, adding five rebounds in his first 23 minutes. Jacobson came over from Nebraska.
The youngsters showed well, too, namely Haliburton, a 6-foot-5 freshman who tied for the team lead with four assists while adding three rebounds.
Playing the earliest season opener in the program’s 112-year history, the Cyclones started fast, building a 10-point lead just 4:05 into the game. Seven Iowa State players scored at least one field goal in the first 20 minutes, as the Cyclones shot 15 for 36 (41.7 percent) from the field before halftime.
Despite returning its top three scorers from last season, the Hornets struggled to find an offensive rhythm, shooting 8 for 29 (27.6 percent) in the first half and 20 for 55 (36.4 percent) for the game. Alabama State boasted more preseason experience than some of its counterparts after taking part in an international competition in the Bahamas during the summer.
Iowa State improved to 90-21 all-time in home openers, a mark that includes victories in 19 of its past 20 games at Hilton Coliseum. Alabama State, meanwhile, has not won a season opener since 2015-16.
—Field Level Media