AMES — They dunked, they laughed, then dunked some more.
Dick Vitale’s voice would have grown hoarse describing the high-flying exploits Iowa State unveiled in Friday’s 115-48 exhibition rout of NAIA foe Viterbo (Wis.) before a crowd of 13,963 at Hilton Coliseum.
“Just to get out and play someone else, that’s just sort of a sigh of relief there,” said Cyclone forward Georges Niang, who made his first five spots, including an authoritative dunk, while scoring 12 points. “And I think it obviously shows us some stuff we need to work on. I think both those things are big.”
Of course all of it was fully expected against a grossly over-matched team still stinging from a 12-point loss at home four days ago to Silver Lake College.
But fans reveled in it anyway, as did the players, who produced nine dunks, 60.3 percent field goal shooting and less-than-stellar defense.
“I thought overall, offensively, obviously we played very well and played unselfishly,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg, who saw Naz Long and Sherron Dorsey-Walker lead his team with 17 points apiece. “Defensively, I thought we gave up too many open rhythm 3s, especially in that first half. I told them in the locker room I thought (walk-on) Dan Stenslund was our best perimeter defender today. Talk was great for about four possessions and then it went down from there. So there’s certainly some things we’ll watch film on and get better at.”
Film’s not required — though it should be reviewed — in order to discern the length and explosiveness transfer guard Bryce Dejean-Jones brings to the lineup.
He scored a team-high 19 points in the closed-doors scrimmage win last weekend over Minnesota and ignited Friday’s dunkfest with a steal and reverse slam.
The former UNLV star dunked twice more, including a Karl Malone-esque flush during which he cocked his arm and placed his hand behind his head.
“That was the first time I’d done that,” said Dejean-Jones, who scored 13 points in 18 minutes. “It was a fast break. We were all out here enjoying ourselves so I thought I’d just do a little something.”
So did everyone else.
Reserves hoping to stake a claim to precious future minutes performed well. Dorsey-Walker went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and added three assists.
“Sherron, besides getting blown by about five straight possessions in the second half, I thought was really good offensively,” said Hoiberg, whose team opens the regular season at 7 p.m. next Friday against Oakland (Mich.) at Hilton. “Played hard I thought.”
Hoiberg found no fault in backup big man Daniel Edozie’s game. He finished with 14 points and a team-best 11 rebounds.
“I thought Daniel really stood out — the energy with Daniel, with his talk,” Hoiberg said. “He’s another one of those guys that’s always in the right spot defensively. He made some good offensive moves out there, obviously had a very good size advantage.”
Freshman point guard Clayton Custer — who was slowed by mono for two weeks before resuming practice a little over a week ago — also impressed Hoiberg.
“Clayton, another guy first time out here,” Hoiberg said. “I told those guys before the game, ‘Those of you who take Hilton Coliseum for the first time will remeber it forever. And I’m confident that will happen .Clayton did a good job — fired up that first 3 when he touched it and it hit every part of the rim, but it didn’t go in. Then he confidently rose up and made the second one. So very pleased with those three guys’ (Dorsey-Walker, Edozie, Custer) performance.”
As for play-by-play …
With the game tied 5-5, Dustin Hogue sparked a 15-0 run with a putback basket.
Therein ends the play-by-play.
It’s not needed to tell the story of the Cyclones’ 67-point win that showcased the sharing (26 assists) and scoring Hoiberg’s teams are known to produce, along with dazzling dunks unfolding at breakneck speed.
“I can definitely say we played with a nice uptempo pace,” Long said. “We’ve definitely got to work on some defensive things. Our talk was kind of lackadaisical here and there, up and down, and we definitely need to get that a little bit more consistent.”