Ups, downs teach Cyclones in exhibition


Photo: Shane Tully/ Iowa State Daily

Naz Long drives through the Minnesota State defense at Hilton Colliseum on Nov. 4, 2012.

Dean Berhow-Goll

The ISU men’s basketball team moved past a slow start to the second half to pull away from Minnesota State, winning 90-57 in an exhibition game.

There was a period from 5:04 in the first half where Iowa State had a 39-14 lead while the Mavericks closed the gap heading into the locker room by finishing on a 14-2 run. That carried over into the second half as Minnesota State cut the lead to four with 15:48 left in the half.

A lack of transition offense and rebounding made the Cyclones look sluggish and out of sync.

“Saying we got complacent, that’s an understatement,” said coach Fred Hoiberg. “We just didn’t move on to the next play. When a couple bad things happened to us, we turned it over, stopped running, we slowed down.”

For the next 7:36, however, the team picked up the pace offensively and defensively, going on a 30-3 run to pull away.

“It showed us that when we don’t work hard and we don’t rebound and we don’t keep our intensity up, guys can come in and almost beat us,” said Melvin Ejim, who had a double-double finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds. “We’ve got to be able to keep that level of intensity at the highest level all the time.”

Tyrus McGee led the Cyclones with 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers while also adding in two rebounds, a block and a steal. Producing well in his freshman debut was Georges Niang, who had 14 points with four rebounds and four assists.

One player who fans might not have expected to perform the way he did was Naz Long. He finished with 12 points and six assists while adding to rebounds to that.

Hoiberg made it clear that he expected that out of Long and said that he spends time after practice watching extra film and getting extra shots up in the gym.

“I see it every day in practice; that’s just the type of kid he is,” Hoiberg said. “I was very happy to see Naz, but I expected it out of him. I expected him to come out and have a great performance because of the work he’s been putting into practice.”

McGee said he enjoyed playing with something the Cyclones didn’t have last year — true point guards.

This year the team has two with Lucious and Long, who were able to push and distribute the ball combining for 11 assists.

“It helped my game a lot,” McGee said. ”That gives me a chance to get myself open and run up and down lanes. Naz, he helps to. He’s an energy guy, so I’m just looking forward to him pushing the ball too.”