AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team was dominant from beginning to end on Friday night in its 106-60 exhibition win over Grand Valley State to kick off the Steve Prohm era.
The 3-pointers were falling (ISU made 16 on the night), the Cyclones forced 16 turnovers and Prohm’s offense didn’t look far off from what fans grew accustomed to under Fred Hoiberg.
“I’ve been here since June, but today you really feel like it’s official,” Prohm said after the game. “I was proud of our guys’ effort. We wanted to make an effort to keep them to 60 points or less.”
Naz Mitrou-Long led the way offensively for the Cyclones as he poured in 20 points, including 14 straight on three 3-pointers and a dunk in the second half. He was also an efficient 7-of-9 from the field and 6-for-7 from behind the arc.
“When he’s running that wing, and that’s what we really want him doing, he can make shots,” Prohm said. “And that was fun watching that.”
It was the usual cast of characters that filled out the rest of the box score for the Cyclones. Monte Morris scored 17 points and dished out eight assists. Georges Niang added 11 points, grabbed nine boards and passed out seven dimes of his own.
Big-man Jameel McKay picked up where he left off last season scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 boards. The three combined to shoot 14-22 from the field, which played a role in ISU shooting 61 percent from the floor as a team.
“I said something to T.J. (Otzelberger) during the game, I think it was after Hallice (Cooke) shot, I was like, ‘These guys can really, really shoot.’” Prohm said. “(Abdel) Nader can shoot. Monte can shoot. Naz can shoot. Georges can shoot. Hallice can shoot. Matt Thomas can shoot. That’s all our perimeter guys. When you can shoot the basketball, it helps a lot of areas.”
Add Abdel Nader (13 points and seven boards), Matt Thomas (12 points and two 3-pointers) and Hallice Cooke (12 points on 4-5 shooting from 3-point range) and you get one heck of an offensive display.
The Cyclones’ offensive explosion was aided by a defensive effort that, at times, completely shutdown the over-matched Lakers.
“I thought our first half defense tonight was good,” Prohm said. “We had a couple breakdowns in the second half. It got up and down a little bit. Our ball-screen defense in the second half has to get a little bit better.”
While Friday night’s game isn’t going to count on the stat-sheet, it does give Prohm and his staff an idea of where their team is as they prepare to take on Colorado in Sioux Falls, S.D. Nov. 13 for their season opener.
“Now it’s on,” Prohm said. “And now it’s for real.”