All you need to know about tonight's game is that the loudest Hilton got during the matchup between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Coppin State Eagles was when Stu Nezlek hit an easy layup, as Iowa State won easily, 104-84.
Tonight's game was much closer than it probably should've been, but quality experience was gained for the bench players, and if you love a fast offense, this was perhaps the best game of the season to watch.
The Iowa State defense showed up early in the game, which led to a phenomenal fast-paced offense that featured ball movement much quicker than the Coppin State Eagles were able to adjust to, leading to a 12-0 start for the Cyclones five minutes into the game.
The offense continued its hot start, knocking down wide open 3-pointers and getting the ball into the paint, but the defense wasn't quite as energetic, and heading into the second media timeout, the score was 20-8.
Out of the timeout, Georges Niang had back to back steals with lobs to Monte Morris, who hit Hallice Cooke for an easy layup and Abdel Nader on the alley oop, giving Morris assists 400 and 401 for his career. Iowa State entered the under-four timeout with a 41-21 lead.
The Eagles allowed Iowa State to play a fast game in the first half. Even after scoring, a slow transition on the defensive end by Coppin State allowed the Cyclones to get the ball under the hoop for a quick basket. However, after a 3-6 start from behind the arc, Iowa State finished the half just making one of their final seven 3-pointers, while the Eagles were able to knock down eight long balls in the first half, seven of which came in the final 5:37. That pace would get them nearly 165 points a game if they did it consistently.
At the half, Iowa State was winning 49-33. Eric Heft said it best: the point differential would've been much greater if the same defense the first 12 minutes of the half showed the same energy the final 8. But you have to take a 16 point lead after giving up seven 3-pointers in nearly five minutes.
Niang and Morris were the standouts for Iowa State in the first half. Niang put up 9 points and 8 rebounds, while Morris had 6 points and 10 assists. It was the bench that kept Coppin State in the game, as Joshua Treadwell (11) and Lucian Brownlee (6) led the team in points and made five of their eight first half 3-pointers.
The second half started out with some back and forth basketball, and was pretty limited in entertainment value until Trey Harris Jr., graduate of Adam Woodbury Academy of Fine Arts, grabbed Matt Thomas' face in an attempt to get a rebound and got himself a Flagrant 1. After Thomas knocked down both free throws, the Cyclones held a 58-35 lead.
Out of the first media timeout, the team became lackadaisical and allowed three offensive rebounds on the Eagles' first trip, which resulted in an easy layup. The offenses continued to exchange blows, as Coppin State's Christian Kessee got the hot hand in the second half and finishing the game with 19 points.
With a 66-41 lead, Jordan Ashton and Simeon Carter entered the game. With 13 minutes remaining, it became Deonte Burton's time to shine, as he grabbed rebounds, was a force in the paint and knocked down a triple. Heading into the under-8 timeout, Iowa State was in control 79-58.
Thomas played a complete game, giving full energy even though the rest of the starters had been resting for much of the second half. His energy was especially noticeable after knocking down a 3-pointer and quickly stopping the ball before an opponent had an open triple on the ensuing possession. It was clear he was the general on the court, and was playing like a senior for the rest of the inexperienced players on the court.
Stuart Nezlek hit a layup and followed it up with a
really bad shot obvious off-the-backboard pass to Carter, who had perhaps the hardest dunk of the night, and scored the final two of Iowa State's 104 points.
ISU shot a great 21-29 at the stripe, which helped them soar to a 20 point victory.
Whether he knew it or not, Morris was making a run at breaking Eric Heft's assists record for a single game (16) and was finding the open man nearly every possession in the first half, but missed shots and quick fouls didn't allow him to quite reach the record. He finished the game with 11 assists after getting just one in the second half. Morris added 10 points as well.
Niang was unable to record a single rebound in the second half, finishing with nine on the night and preventing him from getting a double double.
Nader led all scorers with 21 points, while Deonte Burton scored 17 off the bench.
Iowa State heads to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners in the Big 12 opener Saturday, January 2nd at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN2.