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.