NOTEBOOK: Hoiberg calms the huddle, Edozie fills in and Long celebrates


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Then-senior forward Melvin Ejim walks off the court after the win against Kansas in the Big 12 Championship semifinals March 14, 2014, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks 94-83, advancing to the final round for the first time since 2000.

Dean Berhow-Goll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — ISU coach Fred Hoiberg got down on one knee and stared into his players’ eyes. 

“Look at me,” said Hoiberg. “Take a deep breath.”

Hoiberg had just received the second technical of his career, which extended a Kansas run to 13-0, snuffing out Iowa State’s hot start against the Jayhawks.

Then, after Brannen Greene canned another 3-pointer to make it a 16-0 run pushing the lead to 32-23.

Iowa State was in need of an answer, and it got one.

Melvin Ejim’s 3-pointer answered the Jayhawks’ punch with one of his own, cutting Kansas’ momentum. From there, Iowa State jumped out to a 20-10 run of its own to take the lead shortly before halftime.

On Friday night at the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas was big, but Iowa State was better.

“I think we played like the better team today,” Ejim said. “They’re talented and people will say they have more potential and they have more NBA Draft picks, but we won today and we won when it counted.

“We think we’re playing really good basketball and can play with anyone in the country.”

PHOTO: Check out our photo gallery of Iowa State’s 94-83 win, including shots of Georges Niang and the cut over head right eye.

When the Jayhawks roared in front on the 16-0 run in the first half, the Cyclones countered.

Then in the second half, Perry Ellis was big, but Georges Niang was better.

In the final stanza, Niang finished with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting — nearly all coming in the lane with the Jayhawks missing freshman center Joel Embiid.


Daniel Edozie was running off the court as Georges Niang was running on, but he shouldn’t have.

Against Kansas State, Edozie had only accumulated a single minute of action, relieving Niang for rest and attempting to slow his foul trouble.

But against Kansas, the 6-foot-9 Edozie assumed wrongly he was coming out after just a minute of action, so Hoiberg grabbed him and pushed him back out to the floor.

“When I put Georges back in, he just assumed he was coming out,” Hoiberg laughed. “So yeah, I had to push him back on the floor.”

Edozie played eight minutes in the Big 12 semifinal win, which was the most he’s played since Dec. 31, 2013. Those minutes were as important as they were miniscule.

He finished with three points and three rebounds in his limited time, including an and-one bucket early in the second half that extended the lead after Kansas had just cut it to one — the closest the Jayhawks would get in the second half.

“You just never know when you’re number is going to be called,” Edozie said.


DeAndre Kane and Naz Long raised their arms, looking into the crowd of more than 9,000 ISU fans that had made the trip to Kansas City. 

Then, once Wayne Selden Jr. missed a desperate 3-point attempt — that didn’t bank in this time — Monte Morris dribbled the ball to mid-court and threw it up in the air.

For the first time in Long, Kane and Morris’ young careers, they’d beaten Kansas and spurred Iowa State into its first Big 12 Championship game since 2000. 

“It was a feeling that I never experienced, even in high school winning my two state championships,” Morris said. “This was a big win. I knew we could do it, but it felt much better when it was in reality.”

Long said he and Kane were paying back the sea of fans in Sprint Center for making the trip. 

“They deserve it,” Long said. “The whole Cyclone Nation, they deserve it. I told Kane, ‘We’ve got to go give some love to the people.’

“They love us and we love them.”