This game was supposed to be just another easy victory for Iowa State, devoid of any real story line other than a comfortable win for the Cyclones. That's what it was supposed to be until Melvin Ejim turned in all-time performance. The senior absolutely went off, dropping 48 points and pulling down 18 rebounds as Iowa State downed TCU, 84-69.
The 48 points were a Big 12 record and Ejim was ultra-efficient, hitting on 20 of 24 attempts from the field, including a perfect 6-6 from the line and 2-2 from three-point range. He was the benefactor of what seemed like at least ten alley oops and the Horned Frogs had no answer for Ejim's outburst. Ejim joined a list of Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley as the only Big 12 players to score at least 40 points and grab 15 rebounds in a game. That's quite the company that he joined today.
As a team, Iowa State assisted on 27 of 32 field goals and that included a 10-assist game from DeAndre Kane and 7 assists a piece from Monte Morris and Georges Niang. The Cyclones, who lead the nation in assists per game, did a beautiful job of sharing and passing the ball on Saturday.
The win puts Iowa State at 6-4 in Big 12 play heading into Monday's game at West Virginia. The Cyclones sit one game behind Texas, who lost to Kansas State, for second place in the conference.
- Wow. That's all you can say about Ejim's game. He got loose on what seemed like every possession and his teammates continually found him, whether it was in the half-court or transition. I don't know what TCU was trying to do defensively, but whatever defensive scheme they employed, it absolutely didn't work when it came to stopping Ejim. This has already been a special senior season for Ejim, but this game will stand out in the memories of Cyclone fans for years to come. Enjoy the dunk show...
- Individually, nobody else for Iowa State really had a standout performance. Niang was the only other player to score in double figures and after that, the next closest guy was Monte Morris who had 7 points. In spite of Ejim's monster game, this was a total team performance from the Cyclones. That might sound bizarre to say given the circumstances, but identifying a mismatch and exploiting it like Iowa State did today showed exactly why this team is so dangerous.
- He didn't do much, but it was good to see Percy Gibson get a few minutes today. I'm of the belief that at some point, Gibson is going to have to provide big minutes and with a home game looming in the near future against a Texas team that has a ton of size, that could be the game where Fred Hoiberg turns to Gibson.
- TCU may be awful, but this team has some pieces they can build around for the future. Kyan Anderson is an underrated point guard that can put up points on anyone and Karviar Shepherd is close to becoming a very good post player in this league. Next year, the Frogs will add Trey Ziegler to the mix and should be able to climb out of the conference cellar.
- West Virginia lost at Kansas on Saturday, but the Mountaineers are one of the scarier teams in the league. Bob Huggins has this team playing very well and has two top flight scorers in Juwan Staten and Eron Harris. We'll talk more about this game on Monday, but this is a huge game for Iowa State and one of the toughest games remaining on the schedule. The Cyclones had better bring it if they expect to leave Morgantown with a victory.
- Last note. Ejim...DAMN SON.