Georges Niang scored a career-high 31 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the No. 4 Iowa State Cyclones to a 84-63 win over the Buffalo Bulls on Monday night. The victory helped ISU move to 7-0 on the year and stay undefeated heading into the annual Cy-Hawk game on Thursday night.
The first half was a tale of spurtability and stagnate-ability, as illustrated by this handy-dandy graph provided by @madcityCY on Twitter.
Iowa State started the game by scoring 15 points in the game's first five minutes, heading into the first TV timeout with a 15-11 advantage. The next stanza proved to be a rough one for the Cyclones, as they went over three minutes without a bucket and allowed Buffalo to take a 16-15 lead.
A Niang 3-pointer out of the second media timeout jump-started the ISU offense once again. Niang's 3-ball was followed by a triple from Hallice Cooke and another by Niang, then Abdel Nader scored six straight points to give Iowa State a 30-16 advantage.
After the outburst of scoring, the second points drought came. From 9:02 until 2:46 left in the first half, the Cyclones failed to score a point and Buffalo cut the lead back to single digits. At halftime, ISU held a 34-25 advantage over the Bulls.
Both teams came out of the locker room firing in the second half. Buffalo, who only scored 25 points in the first half, scored 21 points in just the first seven and a half minutes of the second period. The Bulls even got the deficit to just one point with 13:24 remaining, but then Niang proceeded to nail a 3-pointer off a Monte Morris assist.
Morris added another jumper on Iowa State's next possession, and Niang threw in a layup to extend the lead to 54-46 at the under-12 timeout. With that layup, Niang eclipsed the 20 point mark not even 3/4 of the way into the game.
The Cyclones increased their lead to 13 points over the next few minutes, trading blows with the Bulls. Niang grabbed a defensive rebound with 7:42 remaining to complete his double-double on the night.
Down the stretch, Niang continued to add to his big night. The senior preseason All-American hit two free throws, a layup and a jumper at one point to up his point total to 26. At the final media timeout, Iowa State held a 72-57 advantage.
A steal and alley-oop assist from Morris to Nader, followed by a Niang 3-pointer from the top of the key all but sealed the deal for ISU. After those two buckets, you could see the body language of a Buffalo squad who'd trailed by only one point earlier in the second half start to accept defeat.
In addition to his 31 points and 12 rebounds, Niang also added 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal in the winning effort. Jameel McKay chipped in a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Morris dished out 10 assists to go along with 12 points. Three double-doubles... Not too shabby, 'Clones.
Cooke and Matt Thomas had solid nights off the bench. Cooke had 7 points and 2 assists, while Thomas contributed 3 points and 6 rebounds.
The Cyclones will take on Iowa in Hilton Coliseum on Thursday night. The game will tip at 6:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2.