Nevertheless, this is a tremendous win — Iowa State 90, BYU 88 — and one that will look just as good on a basketball resume as a home win over Michigan. Few "experts" expected the Cyclones to beat the Cougars. And now they're 4-0 and likely to climb up the AP Top 25 poll Monday.
1. Daniel Edozie, star of the game? Not exactly close, but the JUCO transfer was huge in the final seconds, stuffing a Tyler Haws shot, corralling that miss and then banking in the second of two free throws.
That final point ends up being insignificant, but nonetheless, I think Iowa State fans were breathing a bit easier as a Kyle Collinsworth heave flew through the air because of it.
2. Speaking of Niang. He's taken a backseat to DeAndre Kane and Ejim the last three games, but the sophomore forward was the legitimate star of the game, with six of his 19 points coming after Ejim fouled out in the second half. He was a bully down low, even against bigger defenders, and his hook shot was special.
Niang also had eight assists, a career high, and five rebounds.
3. OK, no more burying of the lede. Let's discuss first Kane's Flagrant 2 foul and then Ejim's flicking off of BYU's student section.
Did Kane intend to stick his fingers in the eyeballs of Eric Mika?I highly doubt that. Does intent matter? No.
The Flagrant 2 is just a newish (2011-) word for the former "flagrant foul."
Kane could be suspended by the Big 12, if the conference office thinks that warrants it, but the foul does not call for some sort of suspension to carry over to the next game, as the college football "targeting" rule does.
Melvin Ejim could wind up missing some action, however. The senior forward admitted and apologized for the gesture he made to the BYU fans after they harassed him for fouling out, according to the Ames Tribune.
We'll see what happens with that over the next few days. It was stupid.
4. BYU guard Tyler Haws finished with his points — 20 — but it was on inefficient 9-for-20 shooting and it was a very quiet 20. Haws did hit seven of eight foul shots.
The Cyclones stuck Dustin Hogue on Haws for the majority of the game. Haws got seven shots off against Hogue, unofficially (I tracked this), and made three, including on three-pointer.
Naz Long took Haws when Hogue was on the bench toward the tail end of the second half, then Matt Thomas was burdened with the assignment. Haws hit a jumper with 33 seconds left and with Thomas on him, but there was a screen involved.
5. Iowa State switched most of the time on BYU pick-and-rolls for a nice changeup in the second half, although the Cyclones were a bit slow on their rotations to run out to the three-point line. They were lucky BYU had a poor shooting night from long-range, just 4-for-20 (28.6 percent).
6. With extra attention being paid to Haws, BYU's Eric Mika feasted inside, starting the game 5-for-6 with 10 points. The 6-foot-10 freshman was 2-for-4 in the second half before leaving the game with an eye injury.
Guard Matt Carlino was phenomenal, dropping a 19-7-4 line with no turnovers.
7. Melvin Ejim tied his career high for three-pointers in a game (three) in the first half but lost his legs in the second, going 0-for-3.
Ejim was very, very good for most of the night, perhaps the weirdest stat being his four rebounds, all defensive, just the 24th time in his career (103 games played) Ejim's failed to nab five rebounds or more.
Ejim kept Iowa State in the game in the first half, with two three-pointers within 20 seconds of each other, to help slice a 32-43 deficit into a 42-43 one. Niang assisted on each of those, then made a layup, and Morris made two free throws as Iowa State went into the break down 47-42.
8. For all their work to close the first half out strong, the Cyclones found themselves down 67-60 with 12 minutes left in the game.
Kane took a dribble-handoff and wheeled around the key, left to right, for an open layup. BYU hit a three-pointer on its next series, but the Kane field goal — Iowa State's first in two minutes — gave the team some life. Dustin Hogue extended for a finger-tip putback, Kane made two free throws, Hogue made another layup and, before you know it, the Cyclones are down, 71-68, the lead cut substantially in less than two minutes.
9. Another big series for Iowa State: Matt Thomas buries a looong three-pointer from the right win, assisted by Melvin Ejim, to give the Cyclones a 78-77 lead, one they'd hold onto the rest of the game.
On BYU's next possession, Kane steals the ball from Haws in a scrum, Thomas picks it up and then heaves it downcourt to Ejim for a transition layup. 80-77, with two guys taking turns assisting each other.
Thomas finished with six rebounds, but it felt like a lot more. Kane led Iowa State with 11 boards for his second double-double of the year (21 points), and Dustin Hogue was two points shy of consecutive double-doubles.
10. Iowa State should be pleased with its defensive effort in holding BYU to 42.9 percent shooting from the field and 28.6 from behind the arc. The Cougars have scored 112 and 108 this season.
Bonus: Edozie is very clearly Fred Hoiberg's preference over Percy Gibson, while K.J. Bluford got the emergency backcourt minutes over Sherron Dorsey-Walker.