If, at the 18:00 minute mark in the first half, you asked John Walters how many points Iowa State would score during tonight's victory over Chicago State, he might've guessed 80, maybe 90. But no more.
But that opinion changed just two minutes later, when Walters made a bold prediction. "I think Iowa State will be breaking the 100 point mark tonight," he said, chuckling.
Walters was right, as ISU ended up defeating the Cougars 106-64 in Steve Prohm's home debut.
During the 2014-2015 season, the first Iowa State possession was usually predictable: find Georges Niang down low and let him make a hook shot. Once Iowa State had those first two points, scoring became easier. It was the same old song and dance against Colorado on Friday, and remained the catalyst for the offense against Chicago State.
After Jameel McKay missed a hook shot from the right block and wide open Nazareth Mitrou-Long missed back to back 3-pointers, the Cyclones decided to stop messing around, and handed the ball to Niang to get those first two points two minutes into the game. Proving the first cut is the deepest, the Cyclones put up 14 points the following two minutes, highlighted by McKay's 8 points, which included an alley-oop and two and-ones. A technical foul was also called on CSU's Elliot Cole after celebrating his first three of the game by getting in Mitrou-Long's face, as if he were the first person to ever make a three against the Cyclones.
Both teams seemed to have a 10 second shot clock, putting up the first open shots they had, while McKay continued to be a monster. While both teams love to play fast, any college basketball fan should know, hardly anyone plays faster than Iowa State. At the 11:30 mark, Chicago State's coach, Tracy Dildy, decided enough was enough, calling his first timeout with a 25-17 ISU lead.
Out of the timeout, CSU slowed their offense way down, dropping the shot clock below 10 seconds for every possession. The change of pace greatly affected Iowa State's offense, as they were only able to drop four points over the next four McKay-less minutes. The Cyclones were still able to find open shots, but seemed to miss everything. Their only points came in the transition offense.
After CSU made it a four point game at 29-25, Steve Prohm threw McKay back in the game, and an emphatic dunk from the 6-foot-9 senior followed by an alley-oop seconds later provided instant impact, sparking the Cyclones on an 8-0 run. The spurt ended after a 3-pointer from Chicago State's Montana Byrd, who apparently thought he was the second person to ever make a 3-pointer against Iowa State, drawing another technical for the Cougars.
After the quick run by Iowa State, both teams finished the half going back and forth, and Iowa State went into the locker room with a 49-35 lead.
Jameel McKay was the star for the Cyclones, putting up 18 points (16 of which via the dunk) and 9 rebounds during the first half and was the lone Cyclone in double digits at the break. Despite scoring just 5 points, Monte Morris also had a great half, giving up just 1 turnover against some of the best pressure he'll see during the non-conference season, if not all year.
Iowa State also had 13 assists on their 18 field goals, and kept Chicago State at 33% shooting from the field. Perhaps the greatest disappointment of the half was Iowa State making just three of their 15 3-pointers, all of which seemed to be with no defense around them. However, making 15 of their 24 shots inside the arc helped the Cyclones remain an offensive juggernaut.
ISU came out of the half on Abdel Nader's back, as he scored all the points during a quick 6-0 run, forcing a CSU timeout just a minute and a half into the 2nd period.
A Jawad Adekoya 3-pointer stopped the Iowa State 13-0 run coming out of the half, making the score 62-38. Adekoya kept his cool, choosing to not taunt any ISU players, and the Cyclones weren't awarded two free throws.
The next few minutes were back and forth, highlighted by a Matt Thomas three point shot that went around the hoop twice before stopping on the back of the rim, until a 29-5 run by the Cyclones was the knockout punch that kept the Cougars from having any chance of coming back into the game, giving Brady Ernst, Simeon Carter, and Jordan Ashton playing time with seven minutes left in the game. Team basketball highlighted the run, as the scoring was nearly equal amongst the seven Cyclones that shared the court during that time.
The rest of the game was practice time for most of the ISU bench, with the loudest cheer coming when River Forest, Illinois walk-on Stuart Nezlek checked in.
The young players provided lots of excitement, however. Ashton provided some solid energy, looked great defensively, and made a nice shot coming from a good finishing move. Carter looked like a young, bald McKay, nearly jumping through the roof on a dunk and repeatedly rushing to be the first one on the offensive side of the court.
Iowa State scored 12 points the final 7 minutes, which is to be expected when giving 4 newcomers their first action of the season. Their time clearly wasn't wasted. While the scoreboard may not show it, they didn't look lost and seemed to run through the motions correctly.
The team shot much better the second half, making 5 of their 10 three point shots.
106-64 was the final score. All the starters, plus Hallice Cooke, scored in double digits. Jameel McKay led all scorers with 25 points and added 11 rebounds to his credit as well. All but three of his points came via the dunk.
Iowa State's next game will be on November 23 against Chattanooga at home. The game will tip at 7 p.m. and once again be broadcast on Cyclones.TV.