Cyclones hoping to blow past Mountaineers
Morgantown, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - After a record-breaking performance over the weekend, the Iowa State Cyclones will attempt to keep their hot streak rolling on Monday night in a Big 12 Conference bout with the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum.
Iowa State has won three straight games to improve to 18-4 overall and 6-4 in conference action. It most recently downed TCU on Saturday afternoon, 84-69, and were paced by a Big 12-record 48 points from Melvin Ejim. The Cyclones head back out on the road for this matchup, where they have split six contests.
WVU had been on a roll of its own with three straight victories prior to its Saturday showdown at nationally-ranked Kansas, which it lost by an 83-69 margin to dip to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in league play. The good news for the Mountaineers in this matchup is that they have gone 8-4 at home.
The Cyclones have won the only two previous meetings between the squads, completing a series sweep in 2012-13.
The Cyclones led their most recent tilt wire-to-wire, opening up a 10-point halftime lead and never looking back from there en route to the 15-point triumph. They shot a lofty 53.3 percent from the field thanks mostly to the red-hot efforts of Ejim, who drained an incredible 20-of-24 from the field on his way to a record-setting day, tying a program record for field goals in a game in the process. He also ripped down 18 rebounds to add to his dominant performance. Georges Niang chipped in 11 points and six assists, while DeAndre Kane went without a field goal but handed out 10 assists.
Iowa State has grown accustomed to high-powered offensive efforts this season, as it ranks first in the Big 12 and fourth in the nation in scoring at 85.0 ppg, doing so on 47.5 percent from the field with nearly nine 3-pointers per game. Its outstanding offense, combined with a stellar +2.1 turnover margin, helps mask a disappointing scoring defense (72.9 ppg). Ejim has been piling up the points all season long, as he's the league's top scorer with 19.8 ppg while adding 8.6 rpg and more than a steal per contest for good measure. Kane is one of the most well-rounded guards in the nation with 16.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 6.1 apg and 1.5 spg, while Niang (16.2 ppg, 3.8 apg) and Dustin Hogue (10.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg) are also integral pieces of the puzzle.
The Mountaineers battled tight with Kansas for much of their latest contest but couldn't contain the Jayhawks down the stretch as they fell in the 14- point decision. A lackluster 39.6 percent field-goal shooting effort hindered their chances, as did allowing KU to make nearly 55 percent of its shots from the floor. Juwan Staten shined despite the setback with a game-high 22 points on 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-10 at the foul line. Eron Harris chipped in 17 points and six rebounds to the losing effort.
WVU's offensive output may fall shy of what Iowa State is able to do on a nightly basis, but it has still been strong in its own right, shooting 44.5 percent from the field for 78.5 ppg, successfully outpacing what it allows on the opposite end of the floor. Continuing with the similarities it shares with the Cyclones, the squad drains 7.9 3-pointers per game at a 37.6 percent clip and sports a +3.6 turnover margin. Staten is the catalyst, as he not only scores 18.3 ppg on 51.7 percent field-goal shooting, but he contributes 5.9 rpg, 5.9 apg and 1.3 spg as well. Harris (17.5 ppg) has been deadly from 3- point range, draining 67-of-159 (.421), while Terry Henderson (12.0 ppg) and Devin Williams (8.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg) have also been solid.
02/10 10:46:49 ET