Iowa State started slow like many expected, but a hot streak from outside propelled Iowa State to a 6-0 start for the second time in the Fred Hoiberg era. The #17 Cyclones were down 12-5 at the 14:57 mark in the first half, but a 27-5 run put ISU ahead and they never looked back.
The Cyclones will now turn their attention to the Big 4 Classic in Des Moines on Saturday evening, as Iowa State travels south to match up against the always plucky, Northern Iowa. We'll talk more about the Panthers throughout the week, but let's recap tonight's game first.
That Dustin Hogue Is So Hot Right Now
What a game for the junior-college transfer from Indian Hills Community College. Hogue, who's been arguably the biggest surprise of this year's team, put in his best effort yet. Halfway through the first half, Hogue had already recorded a double-double and he finished strong, recording career highs in points (22) and rebounds (16). Originally thought to be just a hustle guy, Hogue is showing that he can be quite the weapon for The Mayor, making an already difficult team to match up against that much more aggravating for opponents.
The Young Guards Step Up
The trio of Naz Long, Matt Thomas and Monte Morris continue to develop and mature right before our eyes. Thomas started the year 5-16 (31.2%) from three, but in his last three games, he's 9-19 (47.3%) from deep, including a 4-8 performance tonight. Long had another steady game from outside, draining 3-7 and is shooting a blistering 56.2% on the year. While Thomas and Long provide the outside punch, Monte Morris showed yet again why he's the point guard of the future. Morris played exceptional defense and truly ran the show, scoring 12 points on 2-4 shooting from deep, while also dishing out 9 assists, all while not turning it over once. Outstanding game by him.
Spreading It Around
When Hoiball is rolling, it can be awfully fun to watch and during stretches of tonight's game, Iowa State did a masterful job with their spacing and ball movement. The Cyclones handed out 29 assists to only 9 turnovers. I already mentioned Morris' superb game, but DeAndre Kane showed yet again why he's such a valuable commodity. Despite a rough shooting night (2-9), Kane still managed to impact the game by racking up 7 assists on some great looks. Combined assists/turnovers by Kane and Morris: 16 assists to 0 turnovers. Yeah, I think we can live with that.
Niang Gets Foul Happy Yet Again
In what has become a recurring theme, Georges Niang spent a significant portion of the night on bench due to foul trouble. Niang, who can get quite animated, has sauntered over to the bench a few to many times for my liking and at some point, this will hurt the Cyclones. We know what type of closer he can be (Michigan and BYU), but coaches are taking notice and attacking him specifically early in games to get him rattled. Right now, it's working.