Cyclones Roll in Exhibition, 90-68

Without senior forward Melvin Ejim, out four to six weeks with a knee injury, the Cyclones went super small to start

Sloppy play and poor shooting had Iowa State down at halftime to Div II Augustana, but the Cyclones corrected those deficiencies to pull ahead after the break and win their exhibition, 90-68.

DeAndre Kane led the Cyclones with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Without senior forward Melvin Ejim, out four to six weeks with a knee injury, the Cyclones went super small to start, inserting 6-foot-4 guard Naz Long into the lineup, along with Kane, Matt Thomas, Dustin Hogue and Georges Niang. Only Niang and Hogue stand taller than 6-foot-5.

The hallmarks of small-ball weren't on display in the first half, however, as Iowa State missed all eight of its three-point attempts and struggled to space the floor, with multiple players clogging the same lane, and turned the ball over nine times.

The Cyclones didn't rotate well defensively, either, yielding many open looks (Augustana took 18 threes alone in the first half, making four).

The second half wasn't close, Iowa State pouring in a barrage of points, extending its lead from seven to 23 in less than four minutes.

Iowa State finished with a 49-36 edge on the glass and made 25 percent of its three-pointers compared to 14.8 for Augustana, which didn't make a three-pointer in the second half. The Cyclones only committed four turnovers in that frame.


  • DeAndre Kane averaged 5.6 rebounds a game last season at Marshall. The transfer had seven in the first half then grabbed an offensive board in the opening minute and was fouled going back up. Kane's 10 rebounds are a very positive development for a team that will be without its leading rebounder for a while.

    Kane also ran the floor well. He didn't flash much open-court playmaking Sunday, instead bullying his way into the paint. Several times Kane took a hit mid-air but still finished the play, including a nifty up-and-under. Interior competition will get much tougher.

    One problem with Kane is his lack of a three-point shot — he hit on 31.8 of his tries last season after staying below 30 percent his first two seasons — and how that affects spacing when he's not playing the point and Monte Morris is. Kane will have to make defenses respect that shot, lest they sag off him.

  • Georges Niang made several nice passes from the half-court set, rebounded well and showed off his low-block buffet of moves — the baby hook, the spinning layup. He shot poorly from the outside, 0-for-4 from three. Niang led Iowa State with six assists.

    Niang and Kane played aggressively, asserting themselves offensively. They know there's points to be made up in Ejim's absence.

  • Dustin Hogue is still trying to find his identity, it looks like, as an undersized power forward with insufficient skills to play on the wing. The JUCO transfer brings an element of toughness to the lineup, however, scrapping under the basket for rebounds and loose balls. He surprised with a turnaround jumper near the free throw line.

    Hogue finished with eight points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.

  • Matt Thomas, the highly-regarded freshman shooter, missed his first three-pointer and clammed up in the first half, not trying another. In the second half he drilled a corner three with a man in his face, then pulled up in transition and hit another. Thomas ended up with 16 points on 75 percent shooting from behind the arc.

    Thomas will be the first to admit his defense is a work in progress. He said in high school he never played man-to-man. That showed in the first half when a Viking blew right past him on the baseline.

  • Naz Long filled up the box score nicely, with five points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal.

  • Monte Morris was the first player off the bench and looks to have won the backup point guard gig. The freshman plays with an air of confidence and runs the pick-and-roll with authority, scoring his first of 11 points deking to his left on a Niang screen at the top of the key then abruptly switching toward the right.

    Morris hit a runner at the first-half buzzer and in the second half fielded an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and finished an easy layup.

    One nit with Morris is his slow rotation, especially in running players off the three-point line. Given Morris' natural speed, though, that's more a byproduct of schematic uncertainty.

  • Sherron Dorsey-Walker created an opening for himself in the first half, stutter-stepping a defender in the corner then driving the baseline.

    Dorsey-Walker hit a corner three-pointer after curling to his left on an inbounds play.

    SDW also committed an errant turnover, throwing a pass square into the arms of a defender.

  • Percy Gibson played with soft hands and a soft touch, using the glass to finish off his post moves. At 6-foot-9, Gibson is Iowa State's biggest player. He's not much of a defensive anchor but proved Sunday he's a fine source of points off the bench.

    K.J. Bluford didn't play in the first half but checked in early after intermission. He missed his three three-point attempts.

  • Daniel Edozie didn't play until the 8:17 mark of the second half.

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