Cyclones come on strong in second half, beat Bobcats 81-59


Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim goes for the basket during the Cyclones’ game against Montana State on Saturday, Nov. 27 in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Bobcats 81-59.

Chris Cuellar

It’s been an unlikely start for first-year ISU coach Fred Hoiberg, but with an 81-59 win over Montana State on Saturday afternoon, the young Cyclones are now 6-0 on the season.

Iowa State overcame a sluggish first half with 57 percent shooting in the second half, and stretched out the lead over the Bobcats by as many as 26 points. Melvin Ejim and Diante Garrett led the Cyclones in scoring, with 19 and 17 points apiece. Five Cyclones scored in double digits.

“I think we just did a good job of plugging away,” said ISU junior guard Scott Christopherson. “With the style of play that we have, if we can string together stops for long enough, we’re going to get out in transition and get to the basket and knock down shots. That’s kind of what we tried to do, just keep throwing haymakers at them, and hope they land.”

The first half was a struggle for the Cyclones, as the team was held to its lowest first half point total and lowest shooting percentage in a half all season.

Coming out of the tunnel on 16-2 tear for the second 20 minutes opened up things for the Cyclones, who played their last game in front of a Thanksgiving break crowd. Iowa State’s offense was fueled inside, by driving guards and scoring 21 points off of 19 Montana State turnovers. The Bobcats were outscored 36-12 in the paint.

“It was good for us to learn that we need to start blowing teams out in the beginning when we know that we can, instead of giving them confidence,” Ejim said. “I don’t think it was a good thing, but we’re definitely going to learn from it.”

The crowd of 11,422 at Hilton Coliseum saw the squad play an efficient game, despite the shooting maladies. Iowa State turned the ball over just seven times and scored 22 second chance points in the contest.

“We just got a little stagnant in the first half, and let our lack of shot-making affect how we played overall,” the undefeated coach said. “We told them at halftime, to continue to step up and shoot those shots, and they’re going to go down in the second half. They did.”

On Wednesday, the Cyclones travel to Cedar Falls to take on the rival Northern Iowa Panthers for its chance at a second in-state win. The next contest at Hilton will be hosting the Pac 10’s Cal Bears, on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m.