AMES — Bryce Dejean-Jones made two statements Sunday night.
First, the skilled Iowa State guard showcased his typical cool, but explosive efficiency during the No. 14 Cyclones’ often sloppy 88-78 win over plucky Southern before 14,384 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
Second, he led off the postgame press conference with contrite words regarding his arrest early Thursday morning that prompted a one-game suspension.
“I want to thank you guys for allowing me to come here tonight and talk to you,” said Dejean-Jones, who was initially charged by Ames Police with two noise violations and one marijuana-related offense, the latter of which was quickly dropped. “I want to apologize to my teammates, the coaching staff, the university, my neighbors and also the police for violating the noise ordinance multiple times.”
Dejean-Jones — who scored a game high-tying 18 points — still faces the noise-related charges, but a judge ruled that police had no probable cause to charge him with hosting a gathering in which marijuana was used (serious misdemeanor, Iowa Code, 124.407).
“I was not smoking marijuana,” Dejean-Jones said. “I had no marijuana. I wasn’t charged with possession of marijuana and I had no involvement with marijuana that night.”
Despite that more serious charge being dropped, Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg chose to suspend Dejean-Jones for Friday’s Cy-Hawk Series game at Iowa, which ISU won 90-75.
The senior transfer from UNLV traveled with the team to Iowa City, but watched the win from a hotel room. He cheered loudly, of course — but not too loud.
“I was in the hotel yelling pretty loud in there with my parents watching it,” Dejean-Jones said. “The guys just before the game, they were really focused and just motivated to go out there and prove themselves and I think they did a great job of that.”
Sunday’s meeting with the now 2-7 Jaguars set the stage for the seemingly inevitable letdown coming off a near-flawless performance against the Hawkeyes.
Southern even led 2-0 before the clock started running because the Cyclones (8-1) were assessed a technical for dunking during warm-ups.
"That didn’t help," Hoiberg said.
The Jaguars’ lead swelled to 10-2 on Trelun Banks’ 3-pointer with 18:09 left in the first half — and they still led by eight points, at 29-21, before ISU finally woke up.
“We need to be better than that, with how we get out of the gate,” Hoiberg said.
The Cyclones responded sharply, though, striking for a 7-0 run to lead 42-35 at halftime.
The good times kept rolling for the next several minutes, as ISU scored the first 11 points of the second half and eventually led by as many as 27 points before the Jaguars rode hot 3-point shooting to pull back within 10.
“I feel like we were stuck in the mud the whole game except for a little spurt,” said Cyclone forward Georges Niang, who matched Dejean-Jones with 18 points before fouling out. “Whenever you start off a game that poorly, you don’t realize how tough it is until you put yourself in that position. We just really need to refrain from getting off the slow starts.”
Five Cyclones scored in double figures, including Monte Morris (15 points), Naz Long (13 points) and Dustin Hogue (10 points).
ISU outscored the Jaguars 48-31 in the paint but hit a season-low three 3-pointers while misfiring on 14 from long range.
“I don’t know how we scored 88,” Hoiberg said. “Besides that one stretch where we really had it going — Dustin’s outlet passes, he looked like Kevin Love out there for a while, but we’re pretty good when we play that way. I guess I’ll leave it at that.”
Dejean-Jones went 6 of 10 from the field and added six rebounds and two assists in his return.
And he vowed from now on the only noise he’ll make will be heard on the court.
“I’m just here to try to rebuild myself,” Dejean-Jones said. “I’m just looking to move forward, to keep working hard for my team.”