AMES, Iowa — The P.A. announcer used the final media timeout Wednesday night to address the inevitable: Fred Hoiberg would become the fastest Iowa State coach to reach 100 wins as a coach.
There was still 3:31 to play before Hoiberg could add that feather to his cap, but that’s the kind of night Iowa State had in closing out 2014. The No. 9 Cyclones scored early and often in an 83-33 rout of Mississippi Valley State, which marked the 500th win at Hilton Coliseum and the 100th for the fifth-year coach.
Yet win No. 100 apparently feels no different than the previous 99.
“Not really, I guess,” Hoiberg said when asked if the win felt special. “It’s a game I wanted to go out and win and get some momentum heading into league play. Hopefully we get 101 the next time out.”
Iowa State used a 37-11 run to close out the first half, taking a 29-point lead to the break with the help of Naz Long’s long-range shooting. Long, who scored a game-high 24 points in the win, hit four of his seven 3s before the break.
“When I hit my first couple the guys said my shot looks pretty good and they were going to keep finding me,” Long said. “It felt good and it was falling.”
Iowa State shot a blistering 66.7 percent from the field in the first half before finishing a shade above 50 percent for the game. Mississippi Valley State arrived at Hilton hoping to slow down Iowa State, but ended up getting stuck in its own tracks.
The Delta Devils were held to 24.1 percent from the field and scored a meager 15 points in the second half.
“Really the only thing I had on the board going into this game is there’s one thing we have to do and that’s get out of the gate fast,” Hoiberg said. “I thought we did that. They wanted to dictate tempo, so it was important we got off to a good start.”
Matt Thomas added 11 points off the bench while Jameel McKay added 10 points and three blocks in his Hilton Coliseum debut. The leader, though, was Long, who has made a 3-pointer in 19 consecutive games dating back to last season.
“His tempo on his shot right now is so good,” Hoiberg said. “It’s fun to watch him. When it leaves his hand, you’re shocked when it doesn’t go in.”
The win sends Iowa State to Brooklyn to face South Carolina on Saturday in the nonconference finale searching for win No. 101 under Hoiberg.