If this game were a person, it must of went a little heavy on some Taco Bell, because it had a case of the runs. Iowa State raced out to a 36-12 lead, but the Mavericks took advantage of complacent play by the Cyclones and went on a 28-8 run to make things a little uneasy for those in attendance, as Fred Hoiberg's team led by a slim 44-40 margin with just under 16 minutes left in the game. Percy Gibson's strong post move and ensuing free throw proved to be the spark ISU needed, as the Cyclones went on a 23-0 run from that point to build the lead to 67-40 and and cruised to an easy 90-57 victory.
This was ISU's only exhibition and the Cyclones will kick off things for real on Friday, November 9th against Southern. There will certainly be a lot to work on between now and then, but here are a few observations I took away from today's contest.
The Good Stuff
I remarked to my friend who attended the game with me how impressed I was with Tyrus McGee. He showed the ability to do this last season, but he makes so many "Dwyane Wade-type plays" for lack of a better term. McGee did a little of everything this afternoon. His 16 points led Iowa State, but he chased down a Minnesota State player to block a potential fast break layup, he got a huge offensive rebound and converted the putback off a missed free throw, and he was a general pest on defense, coming up with a big steal in the backcourt and racing to the basket for an easy two points. McGee got the start in the absence of Chris Babb, who's serving a three game suspension, but McGee will likely be the spark ISU needs off the bench and figures to be one of the best sixth men in the conference.
The freshmen tandem of Georges Niang and Naz Long were stellar off the bench. Niang scored 14 points in 25 minutes and knocked down both of his three point attempts while also dishing out 4 assists. If Long continues to play like he did today, he's going to get some serious minutes this season. Long scored 12 points and had six assists in 18 minutes of back up duty.
With the losses of Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen, a lot of Cyclone fans were questioning just how well this team would be able to shoot the three ball. Well, I think ISU is going to be alright. The Cyclones knocked down 15-29 from outside, including five threes by Korie Lucious and four by Tyrus McGee.
The Bad Stuff
Outside of Melvin Ejim, Iowa State looked really bad on the defensive glass. ISU allowed the DII Mavericks to grab 18 offensive rebounds and even when Iowa State managed to come up with a board, rarely was it snatched cleanly. I'm sure this will be addressed in practice this week, but this is something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Korie Lucious looked like the best player on the floor for stretches of this game, but his four turnovers were of the careless variety, including a few sloppy/lazy passes. Lucious is a playmaker and with his type of passing ability, there will be some highlight reel dimes, but ISU can't afford to have him turning the ball over on the routine looks.
The Other Stuff
Will Clyburn showed some rust and was unable to ever really develop a rhythm offensively. He only took eight shots and scored nine points and was basically a non-factor on offense. I've noted before that I believe Clyburn will lead this team in scoring, but I'm still not sure if that means he's going to be a guy that will get 20 a night, or a guy that paces this team in the 13-16-point range.
I touched on this briefly, but Ejim had a nice game, notching a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Ejim spent a lot of time playing on the wing and could be a guy that goes from role player to star.