They can't all be impressive victories I suppose and Iowa State proved just that on Sunday evening. Coming off one of the more complete road performances in recent memory in the 90-75 dismantling of Iowa on Friday night, Iowa State downed Southern despite a mostly lifeless effort by a final score of 88-78.
Lethargic, uninterested, sloppy and downright laughable at times, the Cyclones survived a hot start from the Jaguars that saw their lead stretch to 8 points throughout a good portion of the first half. Iowa State closed the half on a 21-6 run to take a 7-point lead into the break and stretched the lead to 25 in the second stanza, but appeared to put it on cruise control far too early as Southern battled back to make the final score a little more respectable.
Offensively, Iowa State lived at the free throw line, knocking down 29-33 attempts and shot greater than 50% from the floor, but had an abysmal night from outside, hitting just 3-17 from deep. The Cyclones dished out 17 assists to 13 turnovers and were +9 in the rebounding department.
Georges Niang and Bryce Dejean-Jones led Iowa State in scoring, with both pouring in 18 points. Dejean-Jones didn't appear to show any rust after serving a 1-game suspension. All five Cyclone starters scored in double figures and Abdel Nader nearly joined them with 8 points off the bench.
Monte Morris continues to play at a high level. The sophomore point guard scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds while dishing out a team-high 5 assists. Dustin Hogue had his second-straight quality effort on the glass, pulling down 7 boards.
Defensively, Iowa State just didn't look interested at all in fighting through screens and was often times late and lazy with doubling in the post. The end result was a 9-23 effort from deep for Southern, which came into the game shooting only 25% from long range on the season. The poor rotations also allowed Southern to move the ball and they racked up 19 assists on 29 made field goals.
For Fred Hoiberg's team, it's a good thing that it wasn't a better opponent in Ames on Sunday as Iowa State may not have been as fortunate. Still, I wouldn't get too worked up about the effort we saw out of this team. We all expected somewhat of a letdown after Friday's emotional win, but this was just a little more careless and let's face it, frustrating, than we had expected.
In any event, the "W" is all that matters and Iowa State moved to 8-1 on the year heading into Saturday's tilt against Drake in the Big 4 Classic in Des Moines. That game will mark the much-anticipated debut for Jameel McKay. The game will tip off at 4 PM CST and can be seen on Cyclones.TV online and Medicaom 22 on TV. There will be no Cyclones.TV broadcast on Mediacom.