Speedy tempo shows in basketball exhibition opener


Photo: Gene Pavelko/Iowa State Daily

Coach Fred Hoiberg talks to his players on Friday, Nov. 5, at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State defeated Dubuque 100-50.

Chris Cuellar

It might not always be pretty, but the Cyclones will play fast.

ISU coach Fred Hoiberg saw 17 turnovers and just 47.9 percent shooting in the Cyclones’ exhibition game with Dubuque on Friday, but he also saw 100 points out of a team with nine available players, six of whom had never played for Iowa State.

Hoiberg wanted quick-paced Cyclone basketball, and his team delivered in its first game at home.

“The guys really did a great job early setting the tone, getting out and running the floor, which is what we’ve been working on and stressing,” Hoiberg said.

The player-turned-coach was in front of the Hilton Coliseum crowd leading the huddle for the first time, but there weren’t many plays drawn up for the young team Friday night. Over-matched Division III team aside, Hoiberg is intent on letting the team run loose.

“We didn’t run a ton of stuff, just got the ball in our playmakers’ hands,” Hoiberg said. “I told them in the locker room, ‘Guys, I don’t want to run many plays tonight, let’s just get the ball up the floor,’ and we’ll have games like that. We’ll just spread the floor out and create driving angles and let our guys go for it.”

Seven ISU players hit double-digit scoring against Dubuque, a balance that will likely have to keep up for the team to have some semblance of success in a fast-break-heavy style. Defense isn’t taking a backseat with all the talk about offense, but the Cyclones weren’t tested on the defensive end by a team whose tallest player was listed at 6 feet 6 inches.

Freedom within the game plan isn’t just a one-game fad for this squad, and playmakers like senior guard Diante Garrett will benefit.

“It feels good getting 100 in the first game, and it builds our confidence up even more to do it with real action,” Garrett said.

With no player taking more than 12 shots and the Cyclones distributing it to everyone on the team, Hoiberg wants to keep the tempo and let shots fly on the offensive end.

“If there’s an open shot, I want them to shoot it,” Hoiberg said. “I’ve played for coaches that built me up with confidence, and I’ve played for coaches that made you hesitant to shoot. It’s tough to make shots when you look over the shoulder at the coach when he’s questioning your shot selection.”

Newcomers Calvin Godfrey and Jake Anderson were efficient in their first game as Cyclones. The two were a combined 12-of-19 from the field, with 29 points and 23 rebounds. Anderson’s scoring ability was noted at his former school, Northern Illinois, and Godfrey’s breakaway dunk in the second half was exactly what up-tempo basketball is supposed to create.

“At practice we get at it,” Anderson said. “The guys that are sitting out this year help us out a lot, staying aggressive on us, and I think that helps us bring the flow to the game.”

The triple-digit outburst came in a game that won’t count on the schedule, and while last year’s Greg McDermott-coached team scored 96 and 106 points in exhibition games last year, they only averaged 72.5 points per game for the rest of the year. Hoiberg wants to keep the team’s fast-tempo style so that lighting up the scoreboard can become commonplace at Hilton.

“That’s the way they like to play, and with the guys we have, I think that’s the most effective way,” Hoiberg said.