Rhoads Gets ISU Basketball Team Fired Up
AMES — Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads made a cameo appearance Saturday with the Cyclone men’s basketball team.
Not in person, but on tape.
“Those guys walked out of that locker room after I showed them that video of Paul (Saturday) and they were pumped up,” said ISU basketball coach Fred Hoiberg.
Rhoads’ team posted the program’s biggest win Friday night over then-No. 2 Oklahoma State. Hoiberg’s group took the intense “All in” message to heart — especially in the second-half of Sunday’s 92-60 demolition of Western Carolina before a crowd of 10,922 at Hilton Coliseum.
“They’re one,” Hoiberg said. “That’s what we need to become.”
Chris Babb shot 5-of-5 from 3-point range, matching a record for accuracy shared by teammate Scott Christopherson. Babb finished with a game-high 18 points and six assists.
The Cyclones (2-1) shot 11 of 18 from beyond the arc and amped up their defense to pull away from the pesky Catamounts (2-2), who shot 39 percent in the second half.
“They shot (48) percent in the first half, which is not acceptable for us,” said Babb, who is 10 of 19 from long range this season. “We just made a conscious effort to focus on our guy and help, get steals. We were stopping then and getting rebounds, That led to our transition, which led to open shots. And we did a great job of making the extra pass.”
And the extra-extra pass.
“A lot of times that second or third pass is always going to be open,” Babb said. “Especially with the shooters that we’ve got.”
Royce White notched 17 points, Chris Allen added 13 and Tyrus McGee sprinkled in 12. McGee made his first two 3-point attempts to rise to 7-for-7 this season, but them missed. He added two more without misfiring to improve to 9 of 10 from long range in 60 minutes of floor time.
“We’ve got four guys out there that have that potential — to go out there and have a shooting night like that,” Hoiberg said. “But, again, if you’re going up against a set defense every time, it’s hard to get those looks.”
The Cyclones led 38-34 at halftime and coughed up the ball 11 times before the break.
They turned it over just five times in the final 20 minutes while shooting a torrid 77 percent from the field (65.3 percent overall).
“We started to space the court, move the ball, penetrate and kick,” said Christopherson, who along with White had four assists. “Then on defense, we got stops.”
Hoiberg said he almost stopped game planning on Friday, with the football game flickering on TV nearby.
“It was awesome,” said Hoiberg, a former ISU ball boy. “I loved every second of that thing.”
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