After beating a Michigan team that at the time was ranked in the Top 10 on Sunday afternoon, many wondered if No. 21 Iowa State would be able to follow that performance with a win at BYU. The Marriott Center has been one of the toughest environments for visiting teams to win in, especially one that essentially plays seven players as the Cyclones do.
Two players (Melvin Ejim and Dustin Hogue) fouled out and a third (DeAndre Kane; flagrant two) was ejected in the late stages of Wednesday night’s game, but Fred Hoiberg’s team found a way to leave Provo with the 90-88 victory. Ejim and Kane finished the game with 21 points apiece, and the contributions of sophomore Georges Niang shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Niang finished the game with 19 points and eight assists, and on multiple occasions he was the one who would make the critical play for the Cyclones in the second half. Ejim receives his fair share of attention but Niang’s a player to be reckoned with as well, and Wednesday’s performance was the latest example of this.
Tyler Haws (20 points) and Matt Carlino (19) led four Cougars in double figures, but Iowa State made the high-scoring tandem work for their opportunities in the second half. After combining to shoot 11-for-21 in the first half Haws and Carlino shot a combined 4-for-18 in the second half, with Haws making just one of those attempts. Haws had a chance to give BYU the lead with just over eight seconds remaining, but his jump shot was blocked by the seldom-used Daniel Edozie.
Within a four-day stretch Iowa State picked up two wins that will not only help them now, when it comes to national attention, but also down the line when the discussion shifts to NCAA tournament bids and seeding. Iowa State went into a hostile environment, lost three of their most important players down the stretch and still found a way to win. And that’s without a doubt something the Cyclones can build on as they move closer to the start of Big 12 play.
Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.
The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on Rivals.com as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.
Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.
This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.
Davidson star Jack Gibbs to miss a few weeks with shoulder injury
Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs is one of the most under-the-radar players in college basketball as he will be among the nation’s leading offensive threats this season if he’s healthy.
But health is going to be a question for the 6-foot-1 guard as Gibbs is dealing with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-to-3 weeks, according to head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that tests came back negative for Gibbs and he’s expected to be back for the Wildcats’ season-opener. The injury for Gibbs occurred during Thursday’s Davidson practice.
As a junior, Gibbs averaged 23.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he became one of the nation’s premier offensive players. Gibbs is going to be a huge key for Davidson this season as he needs to be healthy in order for the Wildcats to make it back to the NCAA tournament.
VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. electrifies N.C. State fans at team’s scrimmage
N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. excited fans with some absurd plays at the team’s Primetime with the Pack event last night.
The highly-touted, five-star prospect is the most electric prospect to come to the Wolfpack in years and Smith had the crowd buzzing with some highlight-reel dunks during the team’s 20-minute scrimmage.
Smith made one teammate look silly by putting it between his legs and throwing down a vicious dunk during one play while he also threw an alley-oop to himself to finish another break.
Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk is going to be one of the newcomers to keep an eye on this season as the 6-foot-3 Arkansas native is an explosive scorer who packs vicious athleticism.
Monk showed Big Blue Nation some of what they can expect to see during Friday night’s Blue/White Scrimmage as he unleashed a ferocious dunk in some traffic and also had another good dunk in transition. While Monk has great lift off the floor, he also isn’t afraid to cock the ball back and put some authority on his dunks. He’s going to be a ton of fun to watch this season.
Xavier announced on Friday that Kaiser Gates underwent a surgical procedure on his left knee and will be out for about a month.
“Kaiser had a scope procedure to remove small particles of cartilage in his left knee,” said Xavier Associate Head Athletic Trainer David Fluker. “We are optimistic that he can be back on the court in four weeks.”
Gates is a 6-foot-8 sophomore that played just 10 minutes per game last season. But with the Musketeers losing a handful of key front court pieces in the offseason, Gates was one of the guys expected to play a bigger role this year. We are currently less than four weeks removed from the start of the season, which means it’s likely that Gates will miss some time.