Well, basketball is back.
That’s the biggest takeaway after Iowa State dispatched Viterbo 115-48 in its exhibition game Friday night at Hilton Coliseum. For all the buildup for the Cyclones coming off their Sweet 16 run last spring, the 12,000-plus fans in attendance certainly got a good first glimpse at this new-look team.
“Offensively obviously we played very well, we played unselfishly,” Fred Hoiberg said. “Defensively I thought we gave up too many open-rhythm 3s, especially in that first half. Talk was great for about the first four possessions and then it went down from there. There’s certainly some things that we’ll watch film on and get better at.”
When beating an exhibition opponent by 67, it takes a lot of looking for flaws. Iowa State found most of them defensively it thought.
“I think just defensively, all-around, getting better in that area,” Bryce Dejean-Jones offered when asked what area Iowa State needs the most improvement in. “Right now I think we’re on a good stretch, so we’re going to try to continue that.”
Here are five takeaways from Iowa State’s exhibition game.
- Coach Fred Hoiberg said Daniel Edozie was quite possibly Iowa State’s most improved player at Media Day, and the senior forward did play with much more confidence in the exhibition. Edozie slammed home two dunks and finished with 14 points (6-of-12) with 11 rebounds.
More than anything else, Edozie looked more physical and more comfortable on the offensive end, an area he was quiet in last season.
“I thought Daniel really stood out,” Hoiberg said. “He made some good offensive moves out there. He rebounded the ball well. I thought Daniel was really good.”
- It was the same-old from Georges Niang and Naz Long, who continued where they left off last season. Long scored 17 points in 18 minutes, going 5-of-7 from 3-point range while Niang scored 12 points in 17 minutes.
Niang’s 25-pound weightloss apparently has helped his athleticism some. The junior dunked home a basket on a breakway with ease in the first half.
- Bryce Dejean-Jones will be a key to success this season for the Cyclones and he looked to be a big, long athlete who can get up the floor in transition.
Dejean-Jones did get beat some on the defensive end, Hoiberg said, but his athleticism will play well in Iowa State’s up-tempo offense. He was efficient in scoring 13 points, going 6-of-7 from the field.
“I thought Bryce was very good,” Hoiberg said. “I thought he was a little nervous there at the beginning. He had a couple plays, I thought, defensively where he could have given a little better effort. We talked about that. He’s been very coachable.”
- Sherron Dorsey-Walker will get an opportunity to showcase himself while Matt Thomas and Abdel Nader miss the first two regular season games after sitting out the exhibition due to off-the-court incidents.
That showcase started well, at least on the offensive end. Dorsey-Walker had a strong move to the basket in transition for his first points and later showed confidence in knocking down the 3-point shot, eventually finishing with 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field.
The biggest area of need is apparently on the defensive end.
“Sherron, besides getting blown by about five straight possessions in the second half, I thought was really good offensively,” Hoiberg said. “He played hard, I thought.”
- In their first Hilton Coliseum action, freshmen Clayton Custer and Georgios Tsalmpouris both made positive impressions.
Custer showed confidence in his 3-point shot despite going 2-of-6 beyond the arc. Tsalmpouris, meanwhile, is certainly all of his 7-feet and is long. He altered one shot, guarded on the perimeter and had a strong move inside, despite getting fouled, and finished with seven points (5-of-6 from the line).