AMES — Iowa State power forward Dustin Hogue attacked the task with typical ferocity, but he wasn’t chasing rebounds this time.
Just tickets to Saturday’s 5 p.m. homecoming game against South Carolina at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — and apparently he’s successfully tackled the happy chore.
“He took everybody’s tickets for the game,” said teammate Naz Long, who warmed up for the CBS Sports Network-televised matchup with the Gamecocks by drilling seven 3-pointers in Wednesday’s blowout win over Mississippi Valley State.
Hogue likely met his self-measured quota as the rest of the ninth-ranked Cyclones coughed up their ticket allotments. Earlier in the week, he was already well on his way.
“I’m up to 19,” said Hogue, who grew up in nearby Yonkers, N.Y. “Twenty-five would be nice, or 26.”
The 6-6 senior’s even more bullish on points. He dropped a career-high 34 on UConn in last March’s Sweet 16 loss and hopes for a similar effort against Frank Martin’s squad.
“It’s something about (New York City),” Hogue said. “Of course we want to win the game and I want to do my part but to have another 34-point night, that wouldn’t hurt either.”
Hogue’s presence on the boards — he’s ISU’s second-best offensive rebounder — will be key against a South Carolina team that ranks 14th in the nation in rebounds per game (41.5) and 17th in rebounding margin (9.3).
The Gamecocks (8-3) also play rock-solid defense, checking in at fourth in the country in opponent’s field goal percentage (33.7).
“They’re a real tough team,” said Cyclone leading scorer Georges Niang. “They have a really angry coach I want to say. He’s really on them and gets on them to play hard. So we’re going to have our hands full. We’re going to have to control the glass. They’re really going a good job on the offensive glass, so we’re going to have to box our guys out and really get the ball out and go.”
That’s Hogue’s forte. His overall rebounding numbers are down after ranking second in the Big 12 last season, but as he said a few weeks ago, he’s likely leading the nation in “rebound assists.” He’ll do it all if asked — and could be the key to piercing South Carolina’s staunch defenses.
“(We’re looking to) have a good homecoming for Dustin,” Long said. “It didn’t go as well as we wanted it to last time. We’re looking to bounce back from our our last New York trip. It will be a fun time.”
Especially for Hogue, who’s finding — or being found by — new relatives and friends quite frequently this week.
“I had people that wanted to go (to Madison Square Garden) last year who couldn’t go,” Hogue said. “Everybody is my cousin now.”