A few thoughts after No. 17 Iowa State (5-0) ripped UMKC, 110-51, Monday night at Hilton Coliseum.
1. Iowa State was supposed to destroy UMKC, and that's what happened. Fred Hoiberg was naturally worried going into Monday's game his team would come out flat — a Thanksgiving crowd, the thrill of winning two tough games the previous week, everybody patting the Cyclones on their backs — but it's a sign of a strong, focused team to do what it's supposed to against inferior squads.
Every year in college basketball there are examples of teams playing with its food for too long, like Kentucky last night against Cleveland State or Duke against Vermont, needing a closing run to stamp out an opponent it should have had beat by halftime.
2. Sherron Dorsey-Walker and Daniel Edozie played well off the bench. SDW didn't play the last two games and struggled in the exhibition and the opening two contests, with a tentative approach. Monday against the Kangaroos, he was everywhere, drilling two three-pointers and hitting six of his seven total shots, to go with five rebounds, two assists, a steal and an emphatic block. Turnovers continue to be a problem. Dorsey-Walker had three last night and they were all examples of him trying to do much with the dribble or pass. If the Cyclones can get that kind of performance off the bench from the skinny redshirt freshman, there won't be many nights scoring is hard to come by.
The raw Edozie played tough inside and two of his five rebounds were on the offensive end. The JUCO transfer added three blocks and four points on 2-for-3 shooting.
K.J. Bluford is certainly fun to watch but it's possible he left his shot in Nebraska. Bluford was 2-for-8 from behind the arc Monday night. Against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi he was 1-for-3 and in the opener against UNC-Wilmington he went 1-for-5.
None of these misses are hurting Iowa State. It is notable Bluford is one of four Cyclones who use 24 percent or more of the team's possessions when he's on the floor (meaning the series ends with a shot or a turnover), especially when the other three in that group are DeAndre Kane, Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang. Bluford is taking 34.1 percent of Iowa State's shots when he's on the floor, the highest percentage on the team. It's a small sample size, and he's doing this with fellow bench players, so it's not like he's playing outside his role. For now, it's just a funny stat to track.
3. There are two breaks left for Iowa State. Auburn is No. 191 in kenpom's ratings and then Northern Illinois is 329. But the four other non conference opponents are formidable and then the Big 12 slate kicks off with a trip to Lubbock then games against Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma and then Oklahoma State again. The Cyclones don't get to play TCU, the worst team in the conference, until February, and they won't play Texas Tech again until Feb. 15. So, it's nearly go-time.
That's why it was so nice for Hoiberg to have his starters on the bench most of the second half. Kane played 20 minutes, everybody else played 19. That works two-fold, too. The Cyclones got Monté Morris 28 minutes and their bench got plenty of work, too. Rest the starters and get experience for the backups, role players and reserves.
Full game story
No. 17 Iowa State used a 27-0 first-half run and a barrage of three-pointers to dismantle visiting Missouri-Kansas City on Monday, running away with its fifth win of the season, 110-51.
"We just came out there with a lot of energy and wanted to take care of business from the start and put them away early," said shooting guard Matt Thomas, who had nine points in the first half.
The 110 points are the most in the Hoiberg era and the most since 1998, when the Cyclones scored 112 against Southern-New Orleans while the 59-point margin of victory ranks sixth in school history.
Four players made two or more three-pointers as the Cyclones shot a combined 38.7 percent from behind the arc and 52.2 percent from the field.
There was no post-BYU hangover for the Cyclones, who beat Michigan earlier in the week as well."I was a little nervous, you always are, after you have an emotional win," head coach Fred Hoiberg said. "But our guys came ready to practice last few days. That's what I was most impressed with them. They didn't let the other two games get to their head."
Melvin Ejim finished a rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 10 points, and DeAndre Kane was his usual box score-stuffing self, with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists on 6-for-7 shooting.
Kane is averaging 16.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and under five assists per game.
All of Iowa State's starters were out of the game nine minutes into the second half. From there, ISU's bench enjoyed a good run together in extended action.
Fan favorite walk-on Tyler Ellerman entered the game with 5:45 remaining and drew a roar from the crowd with a a midrange jumper to push Iowa State's lead to 97-40.
UMKC (1-4) shot 29.5 percent from the field and forced 11 Iowa State turnovers, mixing in a variety of defensive looks, alternating zone and man on consecutive possessions while feverishly pressing throughout the game.
"I thought we did a good job with it," Hoiberg said. "It's always tough preparing for a team that throws that many different looks at you. They played a matchup zone, man to man, 2-2-1 press, on-ball press, sometimes they man-to-man run and jump, so there's just so many things you have to prepare for when playing a team like UMKC."
The Cyclones outrebounded the Kangaroos, 59-31.
Kane: "We knew we couldn't stand to lose this game. This whole week of practice we played focused and we started out good and carried it through the whole game."
Hoiberg: "Sherron (Dorsey-Walker) and KJ (Bluford) both had great weeks of practice and I was glad to get those guys in game action. Sherron (17 points on 6-for-7 shooting) really went out there and played well."
"[The 49 bench points] are fun to see"