By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
During Anthony Booker’s first two years of playing college basketball at Southern Illinois, the 6-foot-9 junior only made five 3-pointers.
In Wednesday night’s 77-71 Iowa State win over Texas, Booker went 3-for-3 from downtown. Inside the Iowa State basketball program, that stat didn’t surprise anybody.
“He has a very nice stroke. He’s worked hard on it," said head coach Fred Hoiberg. "He is a guy who gets in and gets extra shots. He threw those up with great confidence yesterday. That’s what you have to do.”
Booker scored a season-high 11 points in the Texas win. That came off of a 10 point performance in last Saturday’s two-point victory over Mississippi Valley State.
“He was just taking what the defense gave him," said fellow post player Royce White. "I am probably at fault for not doing that too. We have bigs who can shoot. Percy shoots it well when we are in practice and stuff like that. Sometimes you get so into the game flow and we forget to just do what is simple.”
Hoiberg was asked if Booker had the "green light" to fire off threes from now on.
“When he is open and has his feet set, yeah, I expect him to shoot that shot.”
CALLED OUT: After that disappointing performance against the Delta Devils, the 2011-12 Cyclones got called out by an all-time Iowa State great. Dedric Willoughby attended a closed door meeting that preceded the team’s Texas preparation.
"It kind of put a lot of things in perspective for us," said junior Chris Babb. "He kind of talked about how they kind of paved the way for what we’re doing, the guys that played before them and that we just need to step it up more."
"I think that was something that we really needed to be called out.”
FREE THROW PROBLEMS: Iowa State shot 56.8 percent and missed 16 free throws in Wednesday night’s win over Texas. Royce White only converted on eight of his 17 attempts from the charity stripe. White knows that his free throw shooting is an issue and said that it’s something that he’s constantly working to improve.
“I’ve got to get at it. It’s tough because my hands are so big," said White. "I have to work on my consistency at the line and my form. My mechanics are good I think. It’s my hands get at different places on the ball and causes one little you know, nudge form my thumb that causes the ball to go right or short.”
“I’m just going to continue to shoot and get as solid as I can be.”
As a team, the Cyclones are a .678 percent free throw shooting team through the first 14 games of the season.
=== QUOTABLE ===
Tyrus McGee on the upcoming Texas A&M game…
“This is going to be our biggest test right here. We won at home. Now it is a road game against Texas A&M. We’ll go down there and give them our best. After the 40 minutes are over, we’ll see who wins.”
Royce White on Wednesday night’s officiating…
"We are told that they aren’t going to call anything in the league. And then you come in and the first game of league play and they call everything and some stuff they shouldn’t call. Refereeing is a hard job. I have a lot of uncles and then my grandfather is a lifelong ref. You’ve just got to find a way to play through it.”