By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
Iowa State didn’t necessarily run Grand Valley State out of the gym on Sunday afternoon, but the new look Cyclones did do enough to leave with a 77-62 victory.
As is the case in most exhibition games, there were positives and yes, negatives too. Here’s a recap of the glorified scrimmage that took place at Hilton Coliseum.
FROM FRED HOIBERG…
“I thought that we came out and obviously got off to a great start hitting shots. I thought that they were a little bit too comfortable offensively. They shot 46 percent in the first half. I thought that we did a better job of getting up into them in the second half and it showed in the stats. They shot 35 in the second. They hit some tough shots. That’s a team that is going to be good in division two. I talked to Coach Wesley after the game and told him that they are going to be right there. That’s a good Grand Valley State team. Plenty of positives. Plenty of things to work on."
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Melvin Ejim – The sophomore looks to have made some serious strides in the offseason.
Ejim played with energy, he shot the ball well and led Iowa State with 26 points while going 8-for-10 from the field. Ejim also went 3-of-5 from downtown.
“He got out, he ran and got a couple of easy ones early. Any time that you do that it gets your confidence up," said Fred Hoiberg. "Then he stepped out and knocked down a couple of shots. It is all because of effort. If he sprints the floor that hard every possession, he is going to get a lot of baskets.”
TWO AND A HALF UP
No three up? Not today folks. This is an exhibition game that we’re talking about here. Everybody has things to work on. The players, the coaches, the officials, concession stand workers and yours truly.
Balance – Four Cyclones finished the game in double-figures and fans got a glimpse of the balance that this has the ability to have this season. In addition to Ejim’s 26, Chris Babb and Royce White each scored 14 points, while Tyrus McGee had 12.
“You’ll see on this team we’ll have different leading scorers," said Hoiberg. "We’re not a team that is going to have one guy lead us every game this year.”
Babb was especially efficient in his first contest as a Cyclone, going 5-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
Tyrus McGee – I thought that other than Ejim, junior Tyrus McGee provided more energy than any other Cyclone on Sunday.
"He played as hard as anyone that we had today," said Hoibeg. "That’s what you can expect out of Tyrus McGee on a nightly basis.”
McGee knocked down three 3-pointers and recorded four rebounds as well.
The half up:
Shooting – The Cyclones went 10-for-23 as a team from 3-point range on the day. Not bad. The Cyclones were also 19-of-25 from the charity stripe.
Rebounding – There’s no reason under any circumstance that Grand Valley State should be tied with a Big 12 team in rebounding at halftime. That happened on Sunday. The Cyclones ended up winning the rebounding battle 34 to 28, but as we knew it would be heading into the season, crashing the boards looks like it will be a big question surrounding this team early in the season.
"We gave them nine offensive rebounds. Too many," said Hoiberg. "We made progress in that area last week but I thought we took a step back today in securing the ball where if we get that thing off of the glass, we push it up and that’s where we thrive, in transition. We need to do a better job of cleaning up the glass.”
Ejim and Babb led Iowa State in rebounds with eight. Royce White chipped in with seven.
Turnovers – Iowa State committed 14 of them compared to Grand Valley State’s 10. As Hoiberg put it after the game, the Cyclones have too many weapons to turn the ball over that many times.
Chris Allen –Iowa State played the entire second half of Sunday’s exhibition without the man who is arguably their best player. Senior Chris Allen suffered a hip pointer during practice on Saturday and was pulled from the game for precautionary reasons.
“It’s a bruise. It’s right on the bone, right on the hip," said Hoiberg. "He ran into a screen yesterday and you could tell immediately that he was really struggling with it. He wanted to come out and give it a shot. I think that he wanted to get those nerves out of the way with the exhibition game. It was good that he got to experience that."
Hoiberg said that the staff would take a cautious approach to Allen this week in practice and that they expect him to play in next Saturday’s season-opener against Lehigh.
Allen notably had two points, a rebound, and assist and a steal in 13 minutes of play.
Getting Christopherson shots – Senior Scott Christopherson only shot the ball five times in the win. He went 1-for-5 on the day and 0-for-2 from 3-point range.
I wouldn’t hit the panic button yet, but I’d also like to see Iowa State’s best shooter get more shots.
As expected, Christopherson played quite a bit of point guard in the game and didn’t necessarily always look comfortable while doing so, but Hoiberg reiterated the fact after the game that the Cyclones will be a point guard by committee type of team during the upcoming season.
“I think that the matchups will dictate a lot of times what we are doing on offense," said Hoiberg. "Scott will definitely be a big part of it and he knows that he has to look for shots.”
— Sophomore big man Jordan Railey did not dress with the team on Sunday due to the fact that he is currently serving a three game suspension. Railey’s first game for Iowa State this season will be on Nov. 20 against Western Carolina.
— Scott Christopherson had six assists and only two turnovers in the win. Hoiberg referred to Christopherson’s outing as "solid."
— Freshman guard Tavon Sledge was the only Cyclone to not play double-digit minutes in the game. However, the five minutes that Sledge did play were noticeable as he collected two points and an assist during that time.