Iowa State defeats Drake in inaugural Big Four Classic


Cyclone forward Melvin Ejim makes a slam dunk during the game against the Southern Jaguars on Friday, Nov. 9, at Hilton Coliseum. Ejim had a total of seven points the 82-59 win against the Jaguars. The Cyclones defeated the Jaguars 82-59.

Alex Halsted

The Lowdown

DES MOINES — It was a victorious debut in the 2012 Big Four Classic for Iowa State.

The Cyclones (8-3) beat in-state rival Drake (4-5) 86-77 at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday in the second part of a doubleheader with in-state schools. Iowa defeated Northern Iowa earlier in the day to kick off the inaugural Big Four Classic.

Iowa State was led by a pair of double-double performances from forwards Melvin Ejim and Will Clyburn. Ejim scored 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds while Clyburn provided the team with 17 and 10.

The win was a rebound for the Cyclones after the team lost to Drake 74-65 last season in Des Moines. Iowa State is now 107-65 all time against the Bulldogs.

X Factor

Melvin Ejim — Following Iowa State’s last game on Sunday, where he came off the bench in the team’s victory against Nebraska-Omaha, Ejim recorded a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds against Drake. Ejim scored 11 of his points from free throws and also had four assists. 

Ejim now has 11 double-doubles in his ISU career and has reached double-digits in points six times this season and double-digits in rebounds seven times. 

Turning Point

After taking a 16-15 lead at the 10:52 mark in the first half — which put the Iowa State on a 10-2 run — the Cyclones never again trailed in the game.

Iowa State led Drake by four points at halftime and outscored the Bulldogs by five points in the second half for a nine-point win. 

By the Numbers

2 — The ISU men’s basketball team has now won two games at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The Cyclones are now 2-2 all-time in games played at Wells Fargo Arena.

14 — Ejim reached the free throw line 14 times in the win, going 11-of-14 to set career highs in both makes and attempts.

52 — There were 52 combined fouls called between Iowa State and Drake. Ten players had at least three fouls in the game, and four Drake players fouled out. 

11 — With his 3-pointer at the 10:39 mark in the second half, senior Tyrus McGee has now made a 3-pointer in all 11 games this season for the Cyclones.

21.1 — Iowa State went 4-of-19 on 3-pointers for a 21.1 shooting percentage. Outside of 3-pointers, the Cyclones went 22-of-40 from the field. 


“I really enjoyed it. I caught a little bit of the Iowa [vs.] UNI game, it was very competitive and [there were] two great fan bases out there. I thought we had the same with us and Drake in the second one.” — ISU coach Fred Hoiberg on the inagural Big Four Classic. 

“I think that’s a team that will do very well in the Missouri Valley Conference. I think that’s a team that will surprise a lot of people.” — Hoiberg on Drake, who fell to 4-5 on the season with the loss.

“Melvin did it all tonight. Melvin likes this arena I guess, he was very good the last time we played here against Creighton two years ago. You know what Melvin’s going to give you. He’s going to go out there [and] he’s going to defend, he’s going to rebound, and he’s going to run the floor.” — Hoiberg on Ejim’s double-double performance. 

“Every game is going to be a different adjustment to the refs, but tonight we adjusted well. You can’t let them bother you, you can’t let them become a factor in the game, it takes you out of the game.” — Forward Melvin Ejim on the officials and the 52 fouls called. 

“I don’t think people understand that Melvin can do a lot of things out there. He’s aggressive, he can get out on the defensive end and, like you said, he got to the free throw line. He shot 14 free throws, so that’s pretty good for any player to get to the line.” — Forward Will Clyburn on Ejim’s performance and his ability to get to the free throw line.