MBB: Iowa State Wins Exhibition With Big Runs

By Rob Gray, Reporter


By Grant Burkhardt

AMES, Iowa — Georges Niang hit the deck for a rebound.

Iowa State teammate Percy Gibson streaked downcourt, eventually dropping in a transition baby hook shot with contact.

“And one!” the Cyclone forward shouted as much out of frustration as exhilaration.

That “and one” led to another 20 straight points — and ISU rebounded from a sluggish middle quarter of Sunday’s exhibition game against Division II Minnesota State to win, 90-57, before an announced crowd of 12,894 at Hilton Coliseum.

“It just sparked us a little bit,” said Cyclone junior forward Melvin Ejim, who notched a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. "But we can’t have that when we’re down. We’ve got to have that all the time. There’s got to be the same consistency.”

ISU, which opens the regular season Friday against Southern, rode its explosive transition offense to a 39-13 lead on point guard Korie Lucious’ 3-pointer with 5:04 left in the first half.

The rout appeared to kick into high gear, but Minnesota State hustled back, unleashing a 27-5 run that made the score 44-40 with 15:48 left.

How did it happen?

Ejim said, “I think we just got a little bit complacent.”

Cyclone Coach Fred Hoiberg amplified that observation.

“Saying we got complacent, that’s an understatement that Melvin just had there,” Hoiberg said, “We just didn’t move on to the next play when a couple bad things happened to us. We turned it over. We stopped running. We slowed down.”

It didn’t last.

Gibson’s three-point play ignited a 23-0 run that restored order.

Tyrus McGee contributed an offensive rebound and putback of a missed free throw during the spurt and scored a game-high 16 points.

Cyclone guard Chris Babb sat out the first part of a three-game suspension stemming from a violation of team rules.

Lucious, a senior transfer from Michigan State, sprinkled in 15 points and drained five of eight 3-point attempts.

He added five assists, but also lost four turnovers.

“Korie had some very good stretches, I thought,” Hoiberg said while noting a “couple lazy passes” during the Mavericks’ rise.

Niang, a freshman, chipped in 14 points off the bench.

Lucious’ likely backup, freshman combo guard Naz Long, scored 12 points and notched a game-high six assists.

“I told him the other day, ‘I love you Naz, because you’re always looking to get better,’ ” Hoiberg said. “All those four freshmen, I think, have very bright futures.”

Hoiberg feels that way about this season, too.

As long as his team rebounds and avoids lulls.

Ejim’s a big key to that and was Sunday, as well.

“He got every rebound in that stretch where we took off,” Hoiberg said. “It’s effort.”

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