AMES, Iowa — Trae Young might be the best freshman in America — but he wasn’t the best one in Ames on Saturday.
That distinction went to Iowa State’s Lindell Wigginton, who kept his undermanned team in contention before drilling the 3 that sent Young and the Sooners packing on the road yet again.
Wigginton upstaged Young by scoring 26 points and the Cyclones upset No. 17 Oklahoma 88-80 on Saturday, handing the Sooners their sixth consecutive loss on the road.
“In my mind, I feel like I’m one of the best guards in the country. Obviously Trae is one of the best guards in the country too,” Wigginton said. “We had a good matchup and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Fellow rookie Cam Lard wasn’t bad either. He scored 19 points with 17 rebounds for the Cyclones (13-11, 4-8 Big 12), who beat a ranked team at home for the third time in a span of three weeks.
Iowa State built and then blew a 17-point lead, but Donovan Jackson’s 3 with 1:55 left put it ahead 80-77. Wigginton then beat the shot clock with a long 3 after a discombobulated possession, and Jackson hit a pair of free throws to clinch the win.
The Cyclones ran the Sooners (16-8, 6-6) out of the building in the first half, holding Young to just one 3 in the opening 19 minutes while building a lead that stretched to 40-23.
“We didn’t open the game like we wanted to. I thought Iowa State was sharp,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We’ve got to do a better job (on defense). We’ve got to commit more to it.”
Young finished with 22 points and 11 assists, but he was just 1 of 8 on 3s with six turnovers.
“I had some open looks I didn’t hit, that I usually do,” Young said.
The Sooners fought back behind their defense. They held Iowa State without a field goal for eight minutes and eventually tied the game at 71-all on Young’s layup with 4:55 left.
Christian James also had 22 points for Oklahoma, which last won on the road at TCU on Dec. 30.
THE BIG PICTURE
Oklahoma: The Sooners are going to have a tough time convincing the NCAA Tournament committee that they deserve a high seed unless they can start winning some games away from Norman. This one was there for them late, but Young couldn’t find the magic he has so often shown this season.
Iowa State: The Cyclones were able to beat Young and the Sooners even without their own starting point guard, Nick Weiler-Babb, who was out yet again because of knee tendinitis. This was an admirable performance for a team with just eight players suited up to play. “Now we’ve got to string two together,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. Jackson also scored 19 for Iowa State.
ROOKIE VS. ROOKIE
Young set up for a short jumper with Wigginton guarding him early in the first half. But Young, sensing a better shot, changed direction and instead lurched forward for an under-handed layup. But Wigginton wasn’t fooled, and he swatted Young’s shot into the stands. “Lindell is a good player. But it’s not just him,” Young said.
NOT SO YOUNG ANYMORE
Young on Saturday became just the third Big 12 freshman to score at least 700 points, joining Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley. Young is also just the second Sooner with that many points in a season, as Wayman Tisdale scored 810 points in his historic 1982-83 campaign. What was so remarkable about Young’s performance on Saturday was that it felt as though he was having a terrible game — and yet he still finished with a double-double.
After losing to West Virginia at home and to the Cyclones on the road, Oklahoma might find itself out of Monday’s poll.
Oklahoma plays at Texas Tech on Tuesday.
Iowa State hosts Kansas on Tuesday.