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A Reservation For 3: Cyclones Dominate UNCW

Iowa State nails 15 threes in its debut

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

With as much offense that graduated from Iowa State's roster, one had to wonder how well the Cyclones would be able to score in 2013-2014, let alone, shoot the ball from outside, a staple of Fred Hoiberg's offense. This young ISU team answered the bell on Sunday, draining 15-32 (46.9%) from outside, inlcuding a ridiculous 8-11 by sophomore Naz Long. In all, Iowa State poured in 95 points with ease en route to a 95-62 victory over whipping boy, UNC-Wilmington.

The eight threes by Long matched his season total from last year and his 26 points were easily a career high. All five starters scored in double figures and DeAndre Kane flirted with a triple-double in his first game in a Cyclone uniform, going for 13 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.

Things We Liked

  • You have to start with Long. Many thought he would play more as a freshman, but he fell out of the rotation early in the year and never found his way back. Now, with no Chris Babb or Tyrus McGee in front of him, Long appears to be seizing the opportunity and looked like a new player. He's not going to shoot this well every night, but if he can be a knock-down shooter that plays solid defense, it's going to make Iowa State awfully tough to beat.
  • How about the rebounding? With no Melvin Ejim in the line up, Iowa State didn't just control the glass; they owned it. Iowa State outrebounded UNCW 51-32 with Kane leading the way with 11. Dustin Hogue did a passable Ejim impression, pulling down 9 himself while also scoring 10 points.
  • It got a little sloppy in garbage time, but I think Fred Hoiberg can live with 21 assists to only 11 turnovers. Iowa State showed excellent ball movement and passed with a purpose on Sunday. Kane especially excelled at getting the ball into the right guy's hands, but Georges Niang, Matt Thomas and Monte Morris also stood out in that aspect of the game.
  • This team could be a little deeper than originally thought. When Ejim comes back, who goes to the bench? A talented, athletic glue guy like Hogue? The sharpshooting Matt Thomas? The steady Naz Long? Either way, the Iowa State bench looks like it could be a weapon for Hoiberg this year. Morris displays incredible poise for a freshman point guard and can stroke it as well, going 2-3 from downtown. Percy Gibson is going to be serviceable in stretches and how about Daniel Edozie? I'm the guy that said no less than a few weeks ago that I didn't think Edozie possessed the ability to play this year. I'm not going to get carried away considering the competition, but Edozie could wind up playing some quality minutes off the bench. Solid effort out of him.

What Could Have Been Better

Honestly, not much. I thought Iowa State could have played better defensively and still have some concerns on that end of the floor, but this was a solid and thorough ass kicking and with Tuesday's upcoming game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the coaching staff will have another chance to see this team complete and tinker a few thinkgs going into Sunday's colossal match up against #7 Michigan.

Some Final Thoughts

Sunday's game didn't give us a great glimpse at what to expect this year. UNCW is garbage and with the absence of Ejim, it's tough to know how the minutes will be doled out once he returns. It was encouraging to see the youth play well though, which can only bode well for the looming games against Michigan and BYU. This group needed some confidence and needed to see they could be successful and I think they got just that today.

We'll see you back here on Tuesday night and please share your thoughts in the comments section below.