Niang injury overshadows great win
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas --- You sure couldn’t tell that Iowa State had just defeated North Carolina Central 93-75 in the locker room after Friday evening’s game. The scene was downright depressing.
That’s because the Cyclones, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s third-round and will take on North Carolina this Sunday at 4:15 (CBS), will be without one of their top players, sophomore Georges Niang.
Niang, who led Iowa State with 24 points in Friday’s win, left the game with just under eight minutes to play with a broken foot. He will miss the rest of Iowa State’s season.
“He does have a fracture of the metatarsal, non-displaced. It’s a broken bone,” team doctor Vic Miller said after the game. “He needs to sit out. You can’t play on a broken bone.”
Miller said that injuries like this typically force athletes to be out for six weeks or so.
“It depends on how well his bone here,” Miller said. “For the most part, it is just a broken bone. You can’t do anything about that. Time is going to heal it.”
Iowa State now has to roll up its sleeves and figure something out before Sunday’s third-round contest with North Carolina, who defeated Providence 79-77 in second-round action.
Make no mistake about it though. To state the obvious, Iowa State’s road to the Final Four just got a whole lot rockier.
“It’s as big of a piece to this team as we have,” Fred Hoiberg said. “He is a guy who creates so many mis-matches out there on the floor. He is shooting the ball with great rhythm. We will put it behind us.”
More reaction to Niang’s broken foot…
“It just sucks. There’s nothing you can do about it. We have faith in our guys. We have faith in our team. We have guys who can step up and are going to have to step up to replace him. He is a big key to our success.”
“I feel like Georges is a warrior. There is no other player I would rather have on my team. He still played after he hurt his foot and put a couple of floaters up there and hit a couple of big shots. He led us today.”
“We will see what we’re made of. Some guys will be asked to step up. They are itching to get an opportunity to get out there. We will see. Adversity hit us tonight and it hit us hard. I believe in these guys. I love the way they are playing. We have a great swagger with our group. We will put a great game plan in this next day and a half and hopefully come out and compete which I know we will. If nothing else, we will come out and compete on Sunday and battle these guys. Hopefully it will be good enough.”
“I am happy for my team. We battled against a good N.C. Central team and won. I don’t want this to be about me. Iowa State isn’t the Georges Niang team.”