Clyburn, ISU hoping to Cowboy Up, end skid at OSU

Cyclones haven't won in Stillwater in 25 years, play at Oklahoma State Wednesday

Published: January 29 2013 | 3:20 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:42 am in
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AMES — The crack in Will Clyburn’s low-key facade keeps widening.

Here’s what the multi-talented Iowa State forward maintains:

“I’ve never been a yeller or a screamer,” said Clyburn, who enters Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Big 12 matchup at Oklahoma State on a two-game double-double streak. “I’m pretty quiet, on and off the court.”

Half true, point guard Korie Lucious said, chuckling.

“On the court, I’d say he is (quiet),” said Lucious, whose Cyclones (14-5, 4-2) seek their first road win over the Cowboys (13-5, 3-3) since 1988. “He doesn’t really yell, not really a rah-rah type of guy. But off the court, it’s a totally different story.”

Clyburn finds competition in every aspect of life — as former Utah roommate Chris Hines confirmed before his Drake team lost to the Cyclones last month.

Food-eating contests?

Check, Hines said.

Trash talking?

“He’s all right at that,” Hines said.

Fun-loving?

Sure, Lucious attested.

“He plays constantly,” the fellow high-profile senior transfer said. “It’s non-stop. But its all jokes and fun. When we step on the court we know it’s all business.”

Clyburn may be stoic, but he keeps improving the bottom line.

He’s scored in double figures in each Big 12 game and recorded seven or more rebounds in all but one of them.

He’s also at his best — as is the team — when spacing is sound and the ball’s being briskly moved from side-to-side as it was in Saturday’s key win over then-No. 11 Kansas State.

“They get it to the next guy, the next guy,” Wildcats coach Bruce Weber noted after the game.

Lucious spearheads the sharing process and has become both more efficient and cleaner in conference play.

ISU averages 11 turnovers in six Big 12 games — second in the league to K-State’s 10.7.

“We’re just going to take what the defense gives to us,” Lucious said.

In Oklahoma State’s case, that’s not a lot.

The Cowboys allow just 61.7 points per game in league play, but also are replete with offensive firepower generated by the likes of Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le’Bryan Nash and Phil Forte.

“They run their stuff very well,” Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They’ve got as much talent, I think, as anybody in our conference.”

That’s why Oklahoma State’s disappointed at 3-3 in conference play.

“Obviously, anybody can beat anybody,” Hoiberg said. “And that’s been shown.”

Clyburn continues to show the term “quiet” only applies to his on-court demeanor — and games against Iowa and Cincinnati.

His overall numbers scream production.

“Will’s one of the most versatile players in the country,” Lucious said. “We know what he can do every night — crashing the glass, scoring points. He’s in the gym every day working on his game, so 20 and 10 is expected of him, really.”

HE’S BACK: Tyrus McGee broke out of his three-game 3-point shooting slump in a big way against K-State, sinking 3-of-4 from beyond the arc while battling foul trouble. “You’ve just got to play through things like that,” said McGee, who has hit at least one 3-in-19 straight games.

Rob Gray is a Gazette correspondent, working in Ames and covering Iowa State athletics. Follow him on Twitter here.

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