AMES — From an NCAA Tournament non-conference resume standpoint, Iowa State needed to beat BYU. After dropping two games last weekend in Vegas, the Cyclones maybe had one opportunity the rest of the way before Big 12 play to pick up a "quality" non-conference win.
BYU was the big one. Iowa State didn’t just beat the Cougars on Saturday in front of a packed crowd at Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones dominated BYU by an 83-62 final.
Will Clyburn was fantastic. As a whole, the Cyclones were very unselfish. Team defense was superb. Chris Babb locked down the opposition’s best player. Korie Lucious dished out nine assists. No matter how you break it down, that was a good very good win for Fred Hoiberg’s program.
The Cyclones just might have found their identity…
Here’s the recap.
Player of the Game
Will Clyburn – And that’s the guy that Iowa State fans have been waiting to see. Clyburn has been good all season long, averaging 14.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest heading into Saturday. Clyburn, who averaged 20.5 points in two games vs. BYU while playing at Utah, was great in this one.
The senior connected on 9-of-16 field goal attempts and led all scorers with 32.
"Will had a special game and I thought that our guys really did a good job of finding him," said Hoiberg after the game. "We ran some different actions to try and get him going. We felt that Will could go out there and really attack."
Attack he did. Clyburn has blossomed over the last week and a half. The former Utah Ute, who notably is now averaging just over 24 points in his three career games against BYU, has combined to score 53 points on Iowa State’s last two games.
Clyburn sunk 10-of-11 free throw attempts in the game. He’s made 32 of his last 34 free throw attempts.
"Any time you get to the line 11 times that certainly helps," said Hoiberg. "He went out there and he found a really nice rhythm."
Clyburn is the first Cyclone to score 30 points since Jake Anderson did it (33) on March 9 vs. Colorado.
Rebounding streak – Iowa State has now out-rebounded its first eight opponents of the 2012-13 season. The Cyclones grabbed 40 boards to BYU’s 37.
Ejim – He’s always quiet but also effective. I feel like I could write this about Melvin after every game. What Melvin Ejim lacks in flash, he possesses in consistency. Regardless of the opponent, chances are that when the final buzzer sounds, this guy is always in double-double conversation.
Ejim almost got there today, scoring 13 while snagging eight rebounds (four on offense, four on defense). Throw two assists, a block and a steal in the mix and Ejim is a legitimate stat stuffer.
Team Defense – I had a hunch that with Chris Babb doing his thing, Iowa State would do a decent job defending BYU’s Tyler Haws. That indeed happened. Haws went 4-of-13 from the field with nine points in the BYU loss.
Heading into the game, Haws was BYU’s leading scorer at 22.6 points per contest.
It was BYU big man Brandon Davies that scared everyone heading into this match-up. Iowa State’s interior defense was far from perfect. Davies went 7-of-17 and scored 20 points. But it was effective enough as the Cyclones only allowed two Cougars to reach double digits on the day in route to the Iowa State victory.
Hoiberg noted 27 solid mintues of play by sophmore Percy Gibson, as Anthony Booker sat out much of the play in foul trouble.
"Percy was great," said Hoiberg. "He really did a good job of building a wall against Davies. Davies is going to be as good of a post player as we play against all year. He is an absolute load."
Gibson ended the game with seven points and seven boards.
BYU shot 36.9 percent from the field on the day, including an abismal 4-of-20 mark from 3-point range.