In the much anticipated debut of Iowa State big man Jameel McKay, the Cyclones overpowered the Drake Bulldogs Saturday afternoon by a final score of 83-54.
Iowa State got out and ran in the first half, using crisp passing and overwhelming athleticism to race to a 36-20 lead at the half. McKay was subbed in with Matt Thomas and Abdel Nader as the first rotation off the bench about six minutes into the game. The 6-foot-9 junior showcased his hyped wingspan and agility down low, finishing 4/7 from the floor for eight points, five rebounds (three offensive) and one assist. It was a solid first game for McKay, with his only blemish being an 0-2 total from the charity stripe.
Oddly enough, in McKay's 13 minutes on the floor this evening, he wasn't on the court at the same time as Georges Niang once. Cyclone fans waiting to see a potential hook up from the two big men on the court will have to wait, as Niang only played 17 minutes in the entire game. The Iowa State bench was able to eat up a large chunk of the minutes in the second half with the game already in hand.
The first "lob city" mention of the year regarding McKay came at 11 minutes to go in the second half, when Bryce Dejean-Jones found the big man in transition for his first 'oop as a Cyclone. No doubt that it was the first of many.
The leading scorer for Iowa State was Naz Long, who tallied 13 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor (3-6 from three point range). Long also had three rebounds, three steals and two assists on the night. Long was also T'd up in the second half for what appeared to be taunting one of Drake's players right in front of the ISU bench. He was immediately pulled from the game by Coach Hoiberg, who was visibly disgusted with his vocal leader. Long eventually returned to the game and seemed to put the boneheaded move behind him. Monte Morris, Dustin Hogue and Matt Thomas were the only other players for the Cyclones to score in double digits against the Bulldogs, pouring in 12, 10 and 10, respectively.
McKay and Hogue both led Iowa State in rebounds with five each. The "selfish" Bryce Dejean-Jones had five assists to lead the Cyclones in that category.
As a team ISU kept stroking it, shooting 54.2% from the field and 52.2% from three point range (12-23). As with McKay, the only bad stat from the night may have been Iowa State's free throw percentage, which came in at an underwhelming 46.7% - worse than they shot from the field. I think everyone who watched the game can agree that this is due to "screaming girl", who released the shrieks of a thousand tormented souls into Wells Fargo Arena every time a Cyclone player was at the line.
Iowa State's next game comes on New Year's Eve against Mississippi Valley State in Hilton Coliseum. That game tips at 6 p.m. CST and can be seen on cyclones.tv.