No. 21 Iowa State picks up a big win at BYU

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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.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.