AMES, IOWA — Naz Mitrou-Long knew long before anybody else how Monday night might go for his shot and thus for Iowa State’s chances.
There is often talk of a shooter’s touch, and it appears Mitrou-Long is well aware when he has his. A late-night tune up Sunday night proved prophetic, and his performance Monday helped the newly ranked No. 4 Cyclones to an 83-63 victory against Chattanooga at Hilton Coliseum.
“My shot’s really been coming together and I’ve been able to get in the gym a little bit more and it just feels really good right now,” said Mitrou-Long, who finished with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range. “These guys were finding me, it felt really good and it was going in the hoop. Today was the day.”
Mitrou-Long entered Monday just 3-of-12 from beyond the arc in two games this season before doubling that total. His six 3s marked the third time in his illustrious 3-point shooting career that he’s connected for six or more.
As he continues to work his way back from offseason hip surgery on both hips, Mitrou-Long is beginning to find the groove he’s long been waiting for.
Iowa State is the thankful beneficiary.
“With him, he’s just stressing he wants to be the best he can be,” said Georges Niang, who scored 19 on 7-of-13 from the field. “I think that’s why he’s so hard on himself. You guys see 6-for-9, but he thinks he should have been 9-for-9. The work he puts in is like no other. He’s in the gym three or four times a day.”
Mitrou-Long’s shooting helped spark Iowa State, but ball movement and defense carried it. Iowa State assisted on 21 of 33 field goals, 14 of which were 3s after the Cyclones hit just 10 3s in the first two games combined.
“The ball moved tonight. It was fun. Those guys are fun to watch when the ball is moving and that’s just something they can do,” coach Steve Prohm said. “They’ve got a really good feel, they space the floor. We made shots tonight. We really made the extra pass. It’s fun to watch that.”
Monte Morris recorded his second-career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, the fifth-career he’s had with 10 or more assists. Meanwhile, Jameel McKay added a career-high 17 rebounds.
Combined with Mitrou-Long’s shooter’s touch, that resulted in another lopsided nonconference victory.
“I’m just getting in the gym, getting some reps up and thinking every shot’s going in whether or not it doesn’t,” Mitrou-Long said. “I’m just going to continue to get in the gym and get reps up and have confidence in my shot.”