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Notebook: Naz gets his groove back

AMES —Naz Long entered Saturday’s 70-64 Iowa State victory over Texas Tech shooting 21 percent (9-43) from 3-point range during Big 12 play. The sophomore was critical with 14 points in this Cyclone survival. What happened?

This is what an after practice shoot around with Fred Hoiberg will do for a guy.

“Coach Hoiberg & I worked a little bit after practice just on the little fundamentals and mechanics and stuff,” Long said. “I’m glad that it paid off. It felt good.”

Long went 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the victory and Hoiberg seems to believe that he figured out Long’s recent problem from behind-the-arc. 

“The big thing that I saw from him and why he was struggling was his tempo was way too quick,” Hoiberg said. “Once he started slowing down and seeing the ball go in the basket, you could see confidence starting to build. It’s always good when you hit your first one. He got in that corner and rose up with great poise and tempo and knocked it down. There was a little sigh of relief.” 

As a team, Iowa State went 5-for-16 from 3-point range. Again, Long had four of them.

“We needed every one of them,” Hoiberg said.

*** MORE (with video): Cyclones notch an ugly, not bad win over Red Radiers *** 

Was that a dunk?

I’ll go with yes. I’ll give Georges Niang that “dunk” at the end of the game. Why the heck not? Fred Hoiberg begs to differ, though. 

“Was that really a dunk?”

Okay, if the Mayor isn’t buying it, now I’m not so certain.

Niang’s “jam” wasn’t the only highlight from this one. He also hurdled a row of fans early in the first half. 

“The hurdle was impressive though,” Hoiberg said.

It caught the attention of referee John “Hollywood” Higgins too.

“Higgins looked at me and said, ‘I didn’t know he could do that,’” Hoiberg said.

Up next 

Iowa State will host Texas (19-5, 8-3) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Longhorns will host West Virginia on Saturday evening.