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ISU Freshman Monte Morris Thriving At Point Guard

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AMES As the pre-game cheers rose up for mighty Kansas in last week's Big 12 Tournament semifinal, Iowa State freshman Monte Morris smiled and nodded in the warm-up line.

Rock, chalk, smirk?

Sort-of but not in a disrespectful way.

"That's just me," the unusually poised 18-year-old said after the momentum-building 94-83 win. "Even back in high school if a team beat me twice, I was out there smiling, because they're going to take you for granted. We just knew if we came out with a little more fire we'd be successful at the end."

Morris entered the NCAA Tournament East Regional matchup intent on showcasing his unique blend of fire and ice on the national stage.

There's nothing "little" about either one of those elements in his game, either as proven by the fact his assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.4-to-1 is on pace to break the NCAA single-season mark in that regard.

And Morris dished out 14 assists to three turnovers in the sweep to the conference tournament title, which added another layer of maturity for the next challenge.

"If you just go straight into the NCAA Tournament it's tough," said ISU Coach Fred Hoiberg. "You're nervous, so that first step leading into the tournament will help (freshmen)."

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