Iowa State was challenged tonight. That's about as simple as you can put it. The #13 Cyclones looked impressive in spurts and managed to fight off a pesky Alabama outfit, outlasting the Crimson Tide, 84-74.
This was the first big test away from home for Fred Hoiberg's crew and while it wasn't a comfortable win, Iowa State managed to pass in most respects.
The Cyclones were led by another strong effort from Georges Niang. The multi-faced junior forward led Iowa State in scoring with 28 points and 6 rebounds. Niang was 9-14 from the field, 2-4 from outside and a perfect 8-8 from the stripe.
Offensively, just about all went well for the Cyclones. Iowa State had a crazy-hot shooting night, knocking down 58% (29-50) of their shots from the floor, including 42.9% (9-21) from outside and 81% (17-21) from the line. The Cyclones also dished out 18 assists, 2/3rds of which came from Monte Morris as the super sophomore finished with 12 dimes and no turnovers.
Iowa State once again featured a balanced scoring attack as four players scored 13 or more points. Aside from Niang's 28, Dustin Hogue had 17, while Naz Long racked up an aggressive 15 and Matt Thomas, making his season debut had a red-hot 13 points off the bench.
While the final margin shows a 10-point victory, Iowa State couldn't put Alabama away, despite repeated opportunities to do so. Credit has to be given to Anthony Grant's crew for their effort, but the Cyclones didn't exactly make things any easier on themselves as they turned it over 15 times and allowed the Crimson Tide to grab 9 offensive rebounds.
Alabama managed 20 more shots from the field than Iowa State and hit 10-30 3's, which is a big reason they were able to hang around. Rodney Cooper led the Tide with 27 points.
Iowa State will take on Maryland in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The game will tip off at 8:30 PM CST on ESPNU. The Terrapins downed Arizona State in the opener of the two-day tournament, beating the Sun Devils 78-73.