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Posts tagged with Iowa State Basketball

These guys again: Cyclones boast one of nation’s elite offenses entering rematch at KU

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) lofts a shot over Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) and guard Devonte' Graham (4) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) lofts a shot over Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) and guard Devonte' Graham (4) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

There aren’t many college basketball players that can say they have won four of the past five times they have faced Kansas. In fact, the only ones who can say that about a Bill Self-coached KU team are Iowa State’s current crop of veterans.

With a pair of Big 12 Tournament victories and two more wins coming at Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones have proven they have the fire power to not only hang with the Jayhawks, but knock them off. Winning at Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon — on Perry Ellis’ Senior Day? That would be a next-level accomplishment. Iowa State has lost its last 10 trips to Lawrence.

When the 2015-16 schedule came out, this KU-ISU matchup seemed like one that could decide the Big 12 championship. However, KU already wrapped up its 12th straight title and ISU has experienced more drop-off than expected following the departure of former coach Fred Hoiberg.

No. 21 Iowa State (21-9 overall, 10-7 Big 12) and first-year ISU coach Steve Prohm still have plenty to play for. Heading into Saturday, ISU could earn anywhere from a No. 3 seed to a No. 6 seed at the upcoming Big 12 Tournament, in Kansas City, Mo.

And there is the less obvious incentive of ISU trying to become the first Big 12 team to beat a Self-coached KU team both at home and on the road in the same season. While that’s probably not something floating around in the minds of Georges Niang and Monté Morris, just getting a win at Allen Fieldhouse is motivation enough.

So how could the Cyclones pull off the upset at No. 1 KU (26-4, 14-3)? They’d better score a ton of points if they want to have a shot.

ISU (82.2 points per game this season, 1st in Big 12) has led the league in scoring each of the last three years. If the Cyclones can do that again they would join Kansas (2000-03) as the only teams to lead the Big 12 four consecutive seasons.

Some other interesting Iowa State offensive numbers to consider:

- In the 2nd halves of the last 8 games ISU is shooting 57.8% from the floor and 42.3% on 3-pointers.

- In 4 of those last 8 games ISU has shot 64% of better in the 2nd half.

- The Cyclones have made 10 or more 3-pointers in 6 of the last 9 games.

- ISU is shooting 57.1% on 2-point field goals, which ranks 4th nationally.

- Iowa State has made 50.3% of its shots on the year, ranking 2nd in the nation to St. Mary’s, which has hit 50.9%. (KU ranks 8th at 49.3%).

Defense has been ISU’s issue all season, particularly with the absence of injured Naz Long. The Cyclones are 3-8 when their opponent gets 80 or more points. They also rank last in Big 12 games in points allowed (76.9) and 6th in FG% defense (44.2%). KU leads the conference, holding Big 12 foes to 38.7% shooting.

While ISU ranks 2nd in the nation — behind only Michigan State — in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to college hoops math wizard Ken Pomeroy, of kenpom.com, the Cyclones are 111th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Iowa State certainly will extend its run of NCAA Tournament appearances to five straight years, improving on its current program record. But the Cyclones’ defensive issues might be too much to overcome against a hot Kansas team that can match them basket for basket.

With all of those factors in mind, here are the Cyclones the Jayhawks have to worry about as they try to close out the regular season with an 11th straight win.

IOWA STATE STARTERS

No. 31 — F Georges Niang | 6-8, sr.

Iowa State’s Georges Niang (31) drives against Cincinnati’s Coreontae DeBerry (22) during the Cyclones’ 81-79 victory over the Bearcats Tuesday, Dec. 22 in Cincinnati. Niang and the Cyclones are among the challengers to Kansas’ streak of 11-straight Big 12 regular season titles.

Iowa State’s Georges Niang (31) drives against Cincinnati’s Coreontae DeBerry (22) during the Cyclones’ 81-79 victory over the Bearcats Tuesday, Dec. 22 in Cincinnati. Niang and the Cyclones are among the challengers to Kansas’ streak of 11-straight Big 12 regular season titles. by Associated Press

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 19 points, 8/17 FGs, 0/5 3s, 3/3 FTs, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers in 33 minutes

  • One of the nation’s better all-around offensive threats, senior Georges Niang (19.3 points) is the only player in the country averaging at least 19 points and 6 rebounds, while shooting 50% or better from the floor and 80% or better at the free-throw line. The last player to pull that off was Creighton’s Doug McDermott (2013-14).

  • The winningest player in ISU history (96 wins), Niang doesn’t just score, he sets up his teammates for baskets, averaging 3.2 assists in his final season. He’s the only player to rank in the top 12 in the Big 12 in scoring, rebounding and assists.

  • In Big 12 games, Niang is shooting 55% from the floor and 35.8% from three-point range (24 of 67).

  • Niang is one of six players in the nation hitting at least 60% of his 2-point shot attempts.

  • In his last 4 games, Niang is shooting 66% from the field.

No. 11 — PG Monté Morris | 6-3, jr.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) looks to pass around Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) looks to pass around Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 21 points, 7/14 FGs, 2/4 3s, 5/7 FTs, 4 rebounds (2 offensive), 9 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 steal in 40 minutes

  • A finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, junior point guard Monté Morris (14.3 points) leads the Big 12 in assists (7.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.1).

  • Morris is on pace to pass Jeff Hornacek (6.8 assists) as the program’s all-time single-season assist leader.

  • The Big 12’s active leader in career assists (525), Morris also has more career steals (163) than any other current players in the league.

  • Morris has looked to score more frequently this season than he did in the past and his 50.4% shooting from the field leads all Big 12 guards.

  • In Big 12 games, Morris has made 22 of 51 from 3-point range (43.1%).

  • A workhorse, Morris has played every minute in 9 games this season.

  • 4th in the Big 12 with 1.8 steals a game, he has recorded at least 1 steal in 26 of 30 games this year.

No. 1 — F Jameel McKay | 6-9, sr.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) disrupts a dunk attempt by Iowa State forward Jameel McKay (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) disrupts a dunk attempt by Iowa State forward Jameel McKay (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 6 points, 2/4 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in 27 minutes

  • Senior big man Jameel McKay (11.5 points) gives Iowa State an athletic presence in the paint and above the rim. McKay leads the team with 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

  • In his last 6 games, McKay, hampered by some soreness in the first meeting with KU, is averaging 2.3 blocks.

  • Starting to return to form, McKay put up 14 points and 17 boards against Kansas State last week, marking his first double-double since the first week of January.

  • McKay has shot 50% or better from the field in 41 of his 52 career games for ISU. This season, McKay is shooting 58.9%. In Big 12 games, that mark is 54.3%.

  • ISU went 4-3 without McKay in the starting lineup this season.

  • Averaging 2.9 offensive rebounds a game in Big 12 action.

No. 2 — F Abdel Nader | 6-6, sr.

Iowa State forward Abdel Nader (2) throws a backdoor pass around Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Also pictured is Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0).

Iowa State forward Abdel Nader (2) throws a backdoor pass around Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Also pictured is Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0). by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 17 points, 6/9 FGs, 3/3 3s, 2/2 FTs, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 4 steals in 36 minutes

  • As he closes in on the end of his college career, senior Abdel Nader (13.5 points, 5.1 rebounds) is getting hot at the right time. Nader is averaging 19.2 points in the last 5 games.

  • In his 5-game run, Nader has made 47.4% of his 3-pointers, hitting 18 total — including 3 games with 5 successful bombs.

  • In his first 25 games of the season, Nader made 26 total 3’s and shot 31.3% from deep.

  • Shooting 48.5% from the floor in Big 12 games.

  • Only dud in his last 5 games was a 4-point performance vs. K-State, when Nader shot 0-for-6 from 3-point range. He scored between 19 and 26 points in the other 4, against Baylor, TCU, West Virginia and Oklahoma State.

No. 21 — G Matt Thomas | 6-4, jr.

None by Cyclone Basketball

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 13 points, 5/10 FGs, 3/6 3s, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 4 steals in 37 minutes

  • Odds are junior sharpshooter Matt Thomas (10.7 points, 4.5 rebounds) is going to make at least one 3-pointer. He has done so in 20 consecutive games.

  • With 2.5 3-pointers made per game this year, Thomas ranks (distant) 2nd to Buddy Hield, of Oklahoma, who makes 4.2 a game.

  • Shooting 43.2% from long range on the year, Thomas’ productivity coincides with ISU success. The Cyclones are 11-1 when he scores at least 12 points as a starter.

  • Thomas has nailed 3 or more 3-pointers in 9 of the last 13 games.

  • Also ISU’s best free-throw shooter, Thomas has made 30 of 33 at the line this season (90.9%).

IOWA STATE BENCH

No. 30 — G Deonte Burton | 6-4, jr.

None by Big 12 Conference

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 9 points, 4/5 FGs, 1/1 3s, 0/1 FTs, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4 fouls in 17 minutes off the bench

  • A transfer from Marquette (just like McKay), junior Deonte Burton (10.0 points, 3.9 rebounds) is ISU’s 6th man and the real productivity off the bench begins and ends with him.

  • Burton doesn’t take as many 3-pointers as Niang, Morris, Nader or Thomas, but he has connected on 10 of 23 (43.5%) in Big 12 games.

  • Shooting 52.8% from the field in conference games — good. And 59.5% at the free-throw line — bad.

Reply 7 comments from Onlyoneuinkansas Humpy Helsel Dirk Medema Goku Zabudda Pius Waldman Joe Ross

Getting to know Monté Morris, catalyst for Iowa State’s potent offense

Iowa State guard Monte Morris drives around Oklahoma guard Dinjiyl Walker, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State guard Monte Morris drives around Oklahoma guard Dinjiyl Walker, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

When first-year Iowa State coach Steve Prohm took over this past offseason, he inherited one of the most talented offensive cores in all of college basketball.

But for the all-around play-making of Georges Niang, the ferocious dunks of Jameel McKay and the three-point shooting of Matt Thomas, none of it would look so good without the orchestration of junior point guard Monté Morris. He’s the man that makes those 81.4 points per game and 49.1% shooting in Big 12 play possible for the Cyclones (15-4 overall, 4-3 Big 12) headed into a Big Monday showdown with Kansas at Hilton Coliseum (8 p.m. tip-off, ESPN).

So while we usually get to know all of the key rotation players in these KU opponent entries, this time we’ll focus on the talented Mr. Morris. With his speed off the dribble and court vision — not to mention his scoring ability — Morris’ play on offense likely will dictate the outcome of this contest for the Jayhawks (16-3, 5-2), who have lost back-to-back road games.

If Morris does as he pleases, it could be a long night for Kansas, which begins the week tied for first place in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma, West Virginia and Baylor.

No. 11 — PG Monté Morris | 6-3, jr.

- 15.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 2.1 steals

- 54.2% FGs, 37.7% 3-pointers (20 of 53), 68% FTs

Morris is averaging 19.4 points in his last 5 games, knocking down 62.7% of his shots in that stretch (including an 8-for-14 run on 3-pointers), but he really isn’t the kind of player to rely on himself more than his teammates.

The way 6-foot-3 junior point guard described it at Big 12 Media Day, before the season began, there are too many weapons around him in ISU’s offense for him to play a me-first brand of basketball.

“It’s great. I know if I throw it back, Georges is gonna knock the three down,” Morris said. “You got Jameel … that’s an extra addition to our offense. That’s two or three more assists on me. That’s not even talking about the lobs me and him are gonna connect for this year. So, yeah, it’s gonna be a scary sight for other teams, but a fun sight if you’re a Cyclone fan.”

Morris, who averaged 11.9 points and 5.2 assists last season, said his decision-making has improved and a big part of that comes with the trust he has in the scorers around him who make his job “that much easier.” One of the point guard’s individual goals entering this season was to maintain an assertive offensive approach every minute he is on the floor — “Whether that’s creating shots for myself or others.”

None by Ames Tribune Sports

In a league brimming with speedy, talented guards — see: Buddy Hield, Isaiah Taylor, Jaysean Paige, Jawun Evans, Jordan Woodard, Frank Mason III, etc. — Morris said every game provides a unique challenge.

“Those guys, they’re marquee names for their programs,” Iowa State’s floor general added, “and when we play each other, it’s magnified as a big-time matchup.”

Regardless of his personal assignment from game to game, every time he laces up his Nikes, Morris enjoys the stage and competition of the Big 12.

“It ain’t about me and that guy that night. It’s about Iowa State and Kansas, Iowa State-Texas, Iowa State-Oklahoma,” Morris said. “I can’t beat Oklahoma by myself. I’ve got four guys that’s on the floor with me. Whatever I do individually, it’s an addition.”

As deferring and humble as Morris is in conversation, hist teammate Niang, ISU’s leading scorer, knew the point guard would put up more points this season. And Niang knew that development would make the Cyclones all the more dangerous.

“I can score on you or I can go pass it to my teammate, who can also score on you,” Niang said of Morris’ new approach. “So I think the thing with him is he’s gonna be more in control and really be able to take over games, which I’m excited to see, because he’s been doing that for two years at practice now.”

IOWA STATE’S OTHER STARTERS

No. 31 — F Georges Niang | 6-8, sr.

- 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists

- 52.8% FGs, 39.5% 3-pointers (32 of 81), 84.4% FTs

No. 1 — F Jameel McKay | 6-9, sr.

- 13.2 points, 9.3 rebounds (3.6 offensive), 1.7 blocks

- 58.8% FGs, 0 3-pointers attempted, 56.6% FTs

No. 3 — F Abdel Nader | 6-6, sr.

- 12.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals

- 47.6% FGs, 27.4% 3-pointers (17 of 62), 81.4% FTs

No. 21 — G Matt Thomas | 6-4, jr.

- 10.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists

- 41.1% FGs, 42.1% 3-pointers (45 of 107), 88.2% FTs

IOWA STATE BENCH

No. 30 — G Deonte Burton | 6-4, jr.

- 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 15.4 minutes

- 52.5% FGs, 50% 3-pointers (9 of 18), 57.1% FTs

Reply 7 comments from The_muser Jonathan Briles Zabudda Joe Baker Tyson Ailshie

Big 12 notebook: Niang’s role won’t change under new ISU coach

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Kansas City, Missouri — When new Iowa State coach Steve Prohm arrived in Ames, Iowa, he inherited a top-10 quality roster with loads of potential.

In order to maximize the Cyclones’ success in 2015-16, Prohm knew he’d have to completely understand how best to utilize multi-talented senior forward Georges Niang. So the former Murray State coach watched a lot of video from the past few seasons, and figured he might as well call up a Niang expert: his ISU predecessor, Fred Hoiberg.

Given Niang’s success under Hoiberg — 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 40-percent three-point shooting last season — Prohm said Tuesday at Big 12 Basketball Media Day, at Sprint Center, he doesn’t want to wreck a good thing.

“He knows how important he is to this team,” Prohm said of Niang. “I do want to challenge him on the defensive end to become a better rebounder, to rebound out of his area and do some things defensively that we need. But offensively, I don't see it changing at all. I just hope he can even excel it even more.”

Learning the league

None by Big 12 Conference

First-year Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart hasn’t spent too much time considering detailed game plans for the rest of the Big 12. Smart said with the non-conference schedule getting things started, he has focused more on that and establishing a new culture in the first couple weeks of practice.

The former VCU coach admitted, though, there will me an adjustment period for him once league play begins.

“Obviously, the stakes are higher, the crowds are more loud, they're more into the game,” Smart said of road venues he said of conference venues he’ll visit for the first time in 2016. “And certainly, as a new coach in the Big 12, I'm going to have to get to know what this league's all about, particularly on the road.”

Sooners matching experience with youth

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Lon Kruger enters this season with the luxury of returning some of the most talented senior guards in the Big 12 — preseason player of the year Buddy Hield and running mate Isaiah Cousins. But the OU coach won’t hesitate to rely on some freshmen in spots, too.

On the wing, Kruger likes promising, versatile rookies Rashard Odomes (6-foot-6) and Christian James (6-4).

“They're very aggressive, physical on the boards,” the OU coach said of the duo. “They rebound the ball well from the wing. They can score. For incoming freshmen, they've been well-coached. They have a good feel for the game, great enthusiasm for working every day, and the real benefit, too, from having Buddy and Isaiah, from a work ethic standpoint, in the gym all the time. And those guys come in and see what they do and fall in line and they'll benefit from that a great deal, too.”

Don’t poke the Bear

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As if Baylor forward Rico Gathers wasn’t already enough of an imposing presence on the court, Bears head coach Scott Drew said the 6-foot-8, 275-pound senior has refined his offensive skill set since last season.

Gathers averaged 9.6 points and 10.6 rebounds as a junior, but only made 42.7 percent of his field goals and 57.8 percent of his free throws. As a result, Drew said the big man spent a lot of the offseason in the gymnasium.

“So first and foremost, if he can become a 75-, 80-percent free-throw shooter, his production is going to go way up,” Baylor’s coach said.

“Second thing,” Drew added, “because we have a lot of length in practice, him finishing over length every day is something that will help. His jump shot has improved. It's a lot softer, a lot better rotation.”

Who are these Wildcats?

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With eight players gone form last season’s roster and seniors Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt, along with junior Wesley Iwundu, the only readily recognizable players left, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber hasn’t lost all hope.

In fact, Weber, whose Wildcats finished 15-17 a year ago, is having fun coaching the mostly overhauled Wildcats.

“They haven't been perfect by any means, but I'd say nine out of the first ten days we just coached them,” Weber said. “We didn't have to beg them to go hard or get after them to go hard, so that makes it a lot easier.

“Now you can worry about the stuff you're supposed to worry about, you know, setting up the angle on the screen, the defense, getting in the right position or how you're going to guard something and you're not wasting as much time.”

No defensive adjustments necessary at WVU

None by Nicole Auerbach

College basketball rules changes dominated much of the discussion at media day, and Bob Huggins — whose West Virginia teams have become known for their assertive defense and pressure — isn’t quite sure yet what to make of the removal of the five-second closely guarded rule.

“I’d like to sit here and give you a very intelligent answer, but obviously I can't. So I don't know,” the WVU said, with a wry grin.

Huggins, whose pants decorated with WVU logos were a hit, said he’ll still ask his guards to defend on the ball with pressure, like always.

“Everybody's going to run a quick-hitter into a ball screen anyways, and that's what everybody did against us for the last 30 years, because we tried to not let people run offense,” Huggins said. “So we ended up guarding ball screens or sprints, and that's what's going to happen. I don't think that changes much.”

Forte can’t do everything

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There is no question which Cowboy’s name will appear on the proverbial marquee every time Oklahoma State plays this season. However, OSU coach Travis Ford said senior guard Phil Forte III, admittedly a “leading man,” can’t be expected to do it all.

“I think last year we relied way too much on just (LeBryan) Nash and Forte, and that was my fault,” Ford said.

Ultimately, the lack of balance made the Cowboys a less effective team.

“We had a lot of big wins and probably overachieved in a lot of areas,” the OSU coach added of the 18-14 season, “but it caught up to us at the end of the year. It caught up to us.”

Shooters and scorers?

None by TCU Basketball

Often sarcastic in entertaining dealings with the media, TCU coach Trent Johnson didn’t disappoint Tuesday morning at Sprint Center.

When a reporter began a question by referencing Johnson’s team full of shooters and scorers, the coach had to stop him right there.

“My team’s full of good shooters and good scorers this year? I don’t know about that,” Johnson said, straight-faced. “Depends on what practice you’re watching.”

Eventually, the coach admitted the Horned Frogs have some experience — juniors Karviar Shepherd and Chris Washburn enter their third year of contributing — and some nights “the ball goes in.”

He said TCU’s ability to get back on defense and limit opponents’ good scorers and shooters would probably determine how successful a season 2015-16 turns out to be.

Rebuilding Red Raiders

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Texas Tech hasn’t finished a season with a winning record since 2009-10. So third-year coach Tubby Smith realizes rebuilding the program won’t be easy in the Big 12.

Smith said the Red Raiders’ annual struggles mean they have to change the culture.

“Although we have great fans and great student support on our campus, and in Lubbock in general, there are a lot of great fans, we still have to continue to grow the program when it comes to recruiting to keep improving,” Smith said, “whether it's facilities or other areas. We know that the competition is stiff no matter where in trying to influence or persuade down the middle to attend the university.”

Reply 3 comments from Zabudda Table_rock_jayhawk Koolkeithfreeze

These guys again: Iowa State

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) tries to settle down teammate Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) tries to settle down teammate Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

The Kansas basketball team’s first rematch of the season doubles as the first time the 2014-15 schedule has provided the Jayhawks with a chance for revenge.

Sixteen days after the Cyclones handed KU what is still its only Big 12 loss, the conference’s marquee teams will battle again at Allen Fieldhouse on Big Monday.

Hilton Coliseum, as the Jayhawks (18-3 overall, 7-1 Big 12) learned up close and personal, can be a living nightmare for visiting teams. KU hurt its chances even more by getting burned in transition for 21 fast-break points, several even coming off of Kansas made baskets on the other end of the floor.

http://youtu.be/UvJJWXZJMcs?t=1m42s

ISU (16-4, 6-2) punished Kansas from long range, too, as Naz Long and Georges Niang combined to shoot 6-for-12 from 3-point range and the Cyclones hit 9-for-20 as a team.

KU at least went 9-for-23 on its 3-pointers, doing far better of matching Iowa State there than in fast-break points: 10.

Fred Hoiberg’s teams run it and gun it, and when they’re hitting on all cylinders, the Cyclones can be lethal offensively.

In Big 12 games, ISU leads the conference in scoring (77.2 points), field goal percentage (48.6%) and assists (16.1), is second in defensive rebounds (26.9) to KU (28.3) and ranks third in 3-point percentage (36.2%).

Time for the refresher course: Here are the Cyclones KU will have to worry about in the rematch at Allen Fieldhouse.

CYCLONES STARTERS

No. 31 — Georges Niang, 6-8, junior F

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) hangs for a shot against Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) hangs for a shot against Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6/14 FGs, 3/6 3’s in 32 minutes

As versatile offensively as any player in the conference, Niang is the only non-guard to rank in the top 10 in the Big 12 in assists per game (3.5, 10th). Plus, he puts hip 15.2 points, grabs 5.4 rebounds and shoots 46.5% from the floor and 38.8% on 3-pointers.

How important is his passing? Iowa State is 13-1 the last two seasons when he and point guard Monté Morris combine for at least 10 assists.

For his career, Niang averages 16.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists vs. Kansas, but only shoots 38.7% against the Jayhawks and 30.9% from 3-point range in six games.

Niang has scored in double figures in nine straight games this season, and is coming off a 23-point, 8-rebound showing vs. TCU.

On the year, he has hit 26 of 67 3-pointers (38.8%), second-most among ISU players.

He’s one of four players in the power conferences averaging at least 15 points, 5 boards and 3.5 assists.

— hoop-math.com update: As a team, the Cyclones really finish well inside (now up to 76.2% on FGs at the rim, which still ranks third in the nation). They’re so good, in fact, that Niang’s 66.47% shooting at the rim is one of the worst among rotation players. Niang has converted 38 of 57 from point-blank range. http://hoop-math.com/IowaSt.2015.php

No. 13 Bryce Dejean-Jones, 6-6, senior G

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) has his shot blocked by Iowa State guard Bryce Dejean-Jones (13) during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. At right is ISU guard Dustin Hogue.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) has his shot blocked by Iowa State guard Bryce Dejean-Jones (13) during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. At right is ISU guard Dustin Hogue. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 12 points, 7 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 4/10 FGs, 0/2 3’s, 4/8 FTs in 31 minutes.

Not only do his 12.8 ppg put him eighth in the Big 12, and his 52.8% FG percentage put him third, defensively the large guard averages 1.47 steals (ninth in Big 12) and pulls in 4.32 defensive boards (eighth in league).

In ISU’s wins last week against Texas and TCU, he averged 17.0 points and made 76.9% of his shots.

He was one of six Cyclones in double figures when ISU beat the Jayhawks in Ames, Iowa.

Dejean-Jones remains the only ISU player with two double-doubles this season.

Four times this season he has been on the receiving end of a Niang alley-oop pass.

But Dejean-Jones isn’t having much luck outside: 15-for-51 shooting on 3-pointers (29.4%).

— hoop-math.com update: His scoring versatility shows in his shot selection. 30.7% of Dejean-Jones shots have come at the rim, 38.0% on 2-point jumpers and 31.3% from 3-point range. He’s actually a good mind-range scorer, hitting 50% on 2-point jumpers (which you don’t see too often).

No. 15 — Naz Long, 6-4, junior G

Iowa State guard Naz Long (15) squeezes in for a bucket between Kansas forward Hunter Mickelson (42) and  guard Devonte Graham during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State guard Naz Long (15) squeezes in for a bucket between Kansas forward Hunter Mickelson (42) and guard Devonte Graham during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 7/12 FGs, 3/6 3’s, 3/4 FTs in 32 minutes.

Long led ISU in scoring vs. Kansas, in Ames, in primetime.

The Cyclones’ top long-range marksman has drilled 52 of his 126 3-pointers (41.3%, third in Big 12).

Since the win over KU, Long has come back down to earth:

  • 2/7 FGs, 10 points vs. Kansas State

  • 2/8 FGs, 5 points at Texas Tech

  • 2/4 FGs, 8 points vs. Texas

  • 1/2 FGs, 3 points vs. TCU

In his previous four games, he has shot 6-for-19 from behind the arc (31.5%).

In Long’s career, Iowa State is 11-1 when he hits at least four 3-pointers.

— hoop-math.com update: He has been Iowa State’s most effective shooter. Long’s eFG% is 63.6%, leading ISU’s rotation players, just edging out forward Dustin Hogue’s 63.3%.

No. 22 — Dustin Hogue, 6-6, senior F

Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) pulls away a rebound from Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) with a minute remaining in regulation on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) pulls away a rebound from Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) with a minute remaining in regulation on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 5/7 FGs, 2/3 3’s, 2/3 FTs, in 30 minutes.

No one in the Big 12 hits his shots as consistently as Hogue (59%), and he averages 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds.

He’s not a guy who camps out behind the 3-point line, but if you leave him, you’ll pay for it. Hogue has hit 7 of his las 15 from deep and is shooting 12-for-27 (44.4%) on the season.

Hogue thrives on defensive mistakes and leads ISU with 35 offensive rebounds.

In his first career meeting with Kansas, last season, he burned KU for 6 offensive rebounds. But in the two games since then, the Jayhawks have limited him to 3 total offensive boards in 61 minutes.

He had 12 points and 7 boards Saturday vs. TCU.

— hoop-math.com update: Somewhat surprisingly, Hogue only has 10 put-backs this season. And just 5.2% of his attempts at the rim have come on the offensive glass. But he’s a finisher. On total shots at the rim (61 of 77), he converts 79.2% of the time.

No. 11 — Monté Morris, 6-2, sophomore G

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) loses the ball as it is stripped by Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) and guard Monte Morris (11) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) loses the ball as it is stripped by Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) and guard Monte Morris (11) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 11 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 4/10 FGs, 0/1 3’s, 3/5 FTs, 2 TOs in 37 minutes.

The guy nearly put up a triple double vs. Kansas, and he’s primarily known for his passing skills — Big 12-best 5.7 assists, and a ludicrous 5.14 assist-to-turnover ratio.

In his career, ISU is 22-3 when he passes out at least 5 assists.

Morris averages 11.1 points and 3.7 boards this season, while hitting 50.3% of his shot attempts and 15 of 47 from 3-point distance (31.9%).

He also swipes 1.7 steals a game and has at least one steal in 16 straight games, coming away with 31 takeaways during that streak.

In the last six games, Morris is averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He went for 16 points, and 6 assists vs. TCU this weekend.

— hoop-math.com update: As good as the point guard is at running the team and setting others up, Morris also can score inside. He has shot 46-for-58 on shots at the rim (79.3%).

CYCLONES BENCH

No. 1 — Jameel McKay, 6-9, junior F

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 11 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks, 4/5 FGs, 3/6 FTs in 21 minutes.

He might’ve impacted the game as much as anybody wearing an ISU uniform in his first game against the Jayhawks. At times, the athletic backup big destroyed Kansas (and the rim).

On the defensive end of the floor, he’s a guy who will make guards and big men alike think about where he’s at before they put up a shot inside.

His energetic approach has produced 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game for ISU.

As KU learned, the guy can really finish inside, and that’s why he has a 56.9 FG percentage.

A 53.7% free-throw shooter on the season, McKay has improved of late, connecting on 70% of his attempts in the last four games.

— hoop-math.com update: He’s the only guy who will play meaningful minutes and not take a 3-pointer (0 attempts this season). McKay primarily lives in the paint, with 64.6% of his shots coming at the rim. He makes 73.8% of them.

No. 2 — Abdel Nader, 6-6, junior F

Iowa State forward Abdel Nader (2) is defended by Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State forward Abdel Nader (2) is defended by Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 3 points, 1 block, 1 rebound, 1/2 FGs, 1/1 3’s in 9 minutes.

His impact doesn’t always show up but he’s had his moments this season.

ISU was down 5 vs. K-State and Nader scored seven consecutive points in the second half and delivered a blocked shot as ISU went on to win by 6, avoiding a letdown after the big win over Kansas.

Nader scored 11 against the Wildcats, and had 19 points vs. both Iowa and West Virginia earlier in the season.

In Big 12 games, he’s averaging 6.5 points and 2.8 boards in 15.3 minutes, while making 47.5% of his shots, but just 5 of 17 3-pointers (29.4%).

— hoop-math.com update: He’ll settle for 3-point shots (43.5% of his attempts come from long range) and so far he has only made 3-pointers (9 of 40) when a teammate assists him.

No. 21 — Matt Thomas, 6-4, sophomore G

— Jan. 17 vs. KU: 0 point, 1 assist, 1 block, 0/1 FGs, 0/1 3’s in 8 minutes.

He has never hit more than 2 shots, nor scored more than 6 points in three career meetings with Kansas.

But Thomas will shoot the ball. His 17 made 3-pointers are third on the team. He has attempted 57, making him a 29.8% 3-point shooter on the season.

He had his best Big 12 game at Texas Tech, scoring 12 points while hitting just 2 of 8 3-pointers.

— hoop-math.com update: Only Long is more likely to take 3-pointers than Thomas. 67.9% of his 84 shot attempts this season have come behind the arc. All but 2 of his 17 makes have been assisted.

Reply 3 comments from Chad Smith Joe Baker Rodney Crain

Getting to know the No. 11 Cyclones

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg watches late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg watches late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Having “The Mayor” back in Ames, Iowa, has done wonders for Iowa State’s basketball program.

Fred Hoiberg, who averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in nine games against Kansas as a player, now coaches the Cyclones, and has helped them earn three straight NCAA Tournament berths.

ISU (12-3 overall, 2-1 Big 12, ranked No. 11 in the nation) is well on its way to a fourth March Madness appearance in a row. Few things give The Mayor’s constituents at Hilton Coliseum more joy than beating Kansas (14-2, 3-0, No. 9) — something Hoiberg did in uniform four times in nine games between 1992 and 1995.

But the fifth-year coach enters tonight’s primetime showdown with the Jayhawks holding a 2-7 record against the team he loved to beat as a player.

Iowa State is 8-0 this season at Hilton Coliseum, including wins over Arkansas (currently No. 19) and Oklahoma State (No. 24). The Cyclones have won 15 in a row at home, dating back to last season.

Since Hoiberg began manning ISU’s sideline, the Cyclones resurgence has thrived because of his free-wheeling offense. Iowa State averages 79.9 points a game this season and has put up 90 or more points 25 times in the Hoiberg era.

Five Cyclones average double figures in scoring, and ISU’s effective field-goal percentage (which takes into account 3-point shots being worth more than 2-pointers) of 55.8 is 12th nationally.

With all of that in mind, here are the Cyclones KU has to worry about as it tries to stay unbeaten in Big 12 play.

CYCLONES STARTERS

No. 31 — Georges Niang, 6-8, junior F

Iowa State forwards Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim celebrate the Cyclones' win over Kansas State on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They will face Kansas in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday.

Iowa State forwards Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim celebrate the Cyclones' win over Kansas State on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They will face Kansas in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday. by Nick Krug

The Big 12’s fifth-leading scorer (14.9 points per game) can play inside and outside, making him a difficult matchup for many teams, and Hoiberg uses him in a variety of ways.

Niang averages 5.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists, making him one of 20 players nationally to average at least 14 points, five boards and three assists.

Since the start of Big 12 play, the forward has only scored 10 vs. Oklahoma State, 16 at West Virginia and 10 at Baylor.

The preseason All-Big 12 selection averages 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists in six previous meetings with Kansas.

Plus, Niang might have even more incentive to torment KU, considering what happened to him the last time ISU faced the Jayhawks:

Iowa State forward Georges Niang lies on the floor bleeding from a gash above his eye suffered late in the second half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Iowa State forward Georges Niang lies on the floor bleeding from a gash above his eye suffered late in the second half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

hoop-math.com nugget: As a team, the Cyclones really finish well inside (74.2% on FGs at the rim, third in the nation). They’re so good, in fact that Niang’s 64.4% shooting at the rim is one of the worst among rotation players. Niang has converted 29 of 45 from point-blank range.

No. 13 Bryce Dejean-Jones, 6-6, senior G

A graduate-transfer from UNLV, he is yet another example of an experienced college veteran plugged in as a difference-maker by Hoiberg.

The Big 12’s preseason Newcomer of the Year is eighth in the league in scoring (12.9 points) and leads Iowa State in rebounding (5.9). Like Niang, though he plays off the ball, he can set other Cyclones up, too (3.1 assists).

Dejean-Jones scored 14 points in ISU’s loss at Baylor, giving him a double-figure outing for the first time in five games.

He’s the only Cyclone with more than one double-double this season (two, vs. Oakland and Lamar).

Connecting on 48.8% of his shots, he’s one of three ISU players in the top four of the Big 12 in field goal percentage.

1st. Dustin Hogue, ISU, 60.4%

2nd. TaShawn Thomas, OU, 56.5%

3rd. Bryce Dejean-Jones, ISU, 53.3%

4th. Naz Long, ISU, 48.8%

5th. Frank Mason III, KU, 48.2%

Inside the 3-point line, he’s a 63.3% shooter, thanks in part to 14 dunks. Dejean-Jones has hit 14 of 41 3-pointers. And he’s the Cyclones’ third-best free-throw shooter (79.6%).

— hoop-math.com nugget: His scoring versatility shows in his shot selection. 33.3% of Dejean-Jones shots have come at the rim, 32.5% on 2-point jumpers and 34.2% from 3-point range.

No. 15 — Naz Long, 6-4, junior G

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvO29Yf4zb4

As he showed in Iowa State’s loss at Baylor — 5-for-5 3-point shooting — Long has the perfect last name, because he’s the team’s best outside shooter.

Long has knocked in 43 of his 101 3-point attempts (42.6%), which makes him all the more difficult to keep in check on the perimeter. He’s fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage, and second in 3-point makes, behind Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield (47).

He’s knocked in five or more 3-pointers in a game four times this season.

Last season, as a backup, he proved critical in crunch time, with a 3-pointer at Oklahoma State that sent the game to double-overtime, and another vs. OSU at Hilton Coliseum that forced OT.

— hoop-math.com nugget: He has been Iowa State’s most effective shooter. Long’s eFG% is 65.5%, leading ISU’s rotation players.

No. 22 — Dustin Hogue, 6-6, senior F

Kansas forward Perry Ellis defends against a shot from Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis defends against a shot from Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Last season, his first at ISU, he averaged 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds against Kansas.

Hogue doesn’t often take 3-pointers, but he makes his attempts count when he does. The forward has made 9 of 18 from deep on the season, as well as 4 of his last 6.

When ISU beat Oklahoma State, he scored all 17 of his points in the second half, went 7-for-7 in the final 20 minutes, scored Iowa State’s final seven points and blocked a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left to give the Cyclones a 63-61 win in their league opener.

Hogue’s 24 offensive rebounds lead the team.

He only scored 5 points and had 5 rebounds in ISU’s loss at Baylor.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Somewhat surprisingly, Hogue only has 7 put-backs this season. And just 4.9% of his attempts at the rim have come on the offensive glass.

No. 11 — Monté Morris, 6-2, sophomore G

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe looks to strip the ball from Iowa State guard Monte Morris during the first half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe looks to strip the ball from Iowa State guard Monte Morris during the first half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

No one playing college basketball right now is better at taking care of the rock than Monté Morris. His 5.6 assist-to-turnover ratio is best in the land.

Averaging 5.6 assists a game, he has relinquished possession just 15 times in 490 minutes. Nine different times in his career, the sophomore has dished at least five assists without turning it over.

He has never had back-to-back games with two or more giveaways.

Last year in three games vs. Kansas, the then-freshman ball-handler had 1 turnover in 98 minutes and averaged 7.3 points.

Defensively, Morris leads Iowa State, with 24 steals (Dejean-Jones has 22 in one less game played).

ESPN’s Seth Greenberg recently named him the best point guard in the nation.

— hoop-math.com nugget: As good as the point guard is at running the team and setting others up, Morris also can score inside. He has shot 31-for-41 on shots at the rim (75.6%).

CYCLONES BENCH

No. 1 — Jameel McKay, 6-9, junior F

Another transfer (from Marquette, where he never played a game after joining the program as a junior college recruit), McKay gained eligibility on Dec. 20 and has averaged 8.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in six games since.

Despite his brief time in the lineup, he’s the only Cyclone with double-digit blocks (16). He has swatted 3.7 blocks in Big 12 games, to lead the conference.

In ISU’s win at West Virginia, McKay turned back five Mountaineers shots.

— hoop-math.com nugget: He’s the only guy who will play meaningful minutes and not take a 3-pointer (0 attempts this season). McKay primarily lives in the paint, with 69.7% of his shots coming at the rim. He makes 69.6% of them.

No. 2 — Abdel Nader, 6-6, junior F

After back-to-back scoreless outings, Nader busted out at West Virginia, with a 19-point night and 7 rebounds.

A former leading scorer at Northern Illinois, the Cyclones are deep enough to bring him off the bench, and he averages 6.1 points in just 16.5 minutes.

He made a season-high 4 3-pointers on 6 tries in ISU’s at Iowa.

— hoop-math.com nugget: He’ll settle for 3-point shots (44.1% of his attempts come from long range) and so far he has only made 3-pointers (6 of 30) when a teammate assists him.

No. 21 — Matt Thomas, 6-4, sophomore G

With 15 3-pointers this season, he has one more outside make than Dejean-Jones in 9.4 fewer minutes a game.

Thomas only played seven minutes and scored 1 point at Baylor. But two games earlier, he scored 10 in 22 minutes against Oklahoma State, when he made 2 of 3 from 3-point range.

The sophomore averages 5.8 points in 18.3 minutes a game, and only has 7 turnovers in 238 minutes. He’s no Morris, but that’s not too shabby.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Only Long is more likely to take 3-pointers than Thomas. 66.7% of his 69 shot attempts this season have come behind the arc. All but one of his 15 makes have been assisted.

Reply 2 comments from Michael Lorraine Jayhawkinaustin