Impressive Opening for Stinson

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Iowa State fans pretty much got what they expected in an exhibition opener against Bemidji State Tuesday night. They also saw a few things that maybe weren't expected during an 80-57 victory. It should come as no surprise that Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock – kicking off their sophomore seasons –led the way with 14 points apiece. But it was JUCO transfer Anthony Davis' 13 points in 14 minutes that had fans excited about a class of five newcomers.

The Cyclones' exhibition opener provided their fans with a glimpse of the future, and head coach Wayne Morgan an early look at his team.

"We have a lot of things to get better at, but we're pleased with the effort tonight," said ISU's coach. "I thought that we played real hard tonight, and tried to play together and unselfishly.

"In the first half, Bemidji State shot the ball real well and made us understand that we need to contest shots better. They had a lot of energy and pressed us for the whole game. They were relentless. I was glad to see that we were able to get through the press and move the ball around. Our guys had a pretty good understanding of where they were going and what they were doing."

Perhaps the most impressive of the Cyclones was Stinson, who approached a triple-double in 35 minutes of action. The sophomore grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists to go with his 14 points. On the defensive end, Stinson racked up five steals.

Blalock was just as solid in 28 minutes of action, dishing out six assists and grabbing a pair of boards.

"Will Blalock was excellent tonight," Morgan said. "He ran the team, scored when he needed to, and stayed aggressive offensively. I also thought he was terrific on their point guard. The guy couldn't go anywhere on him. Will's foot quickness is amongst the best you'll ever see."

All five newcomers took the court for the first time in Iowa State uniforms.

Rahshon Clark and Robert Faulkner were the first two subbed into the lineup. Clark finished with nine points and three rebounds in 16 minutes, while Faulkner provided a big boost of energy to the post in scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds. Faulkner was particularly impressive in the first half, but was hobbled by a sore knee and played just 12 minutes in the game.

Carr hit the floor for 15 minutes and contributed three points and four assists, while Agnew was limited to just three minutes and committed a pair of fouls.

"I like our newcomers," Morgan said. "The thing that they have to do is understand our system, fit into it, and play better. Rob Faulkner is a really good player and he's still picking things up. You can see that Rahshon Clark is just an exceptional athlete. Tasheed Carr is feeling his way around. He's used to having the ball all the time, and now he has to share it with two other very good point guards. He'll get better.

"Anthony Davis looked tentative initially, but in the second half I thought he played great. He got some points, some good drives, and got after people defensively. They all did well. Aaron didn't get to play that much, but as he practices and gets better to where he can help us, that would be great."

The only Cyclone scholarship player not to play Tuesday was sophomore center Reggie George, who dressed but didn't play. Morgan said George has dealt with a bad back throughout preseason practice, and is working his way back.

"We're going to keep working on that until he can play," Morgan said.

ISU wraps up its two-game preseason slate next Monday, hosting EA Sports All-Stars at 7 p.m.

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