Matt Thomas

Naz Mitrou-Long, Anthony Clemmons
Associated Press

Hip issues end Iowa State guard Mitrou-Long’s season

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Not the deepest team by any stretch of the imagination, Steve Prohm’s Iowa State Cyclones took a personnel hit Tuesday afternoon as it was announced that senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long would miss the remainder of the season. Mitrou-Long, a starter for the Cyclones, underwent arthroscopic procedures on both hips this summer and the recovery process has been slow enough to require that he sit out.

Mitrou-Long didn’t play in Iowa State’s game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Sunday in hopes that some extra rest would prove beneficial, but the issues remain the same.

“Naz came to me recently and explained his desire to sit out the remainder of this season and seek a medical hardship,” Prohm said in the release. “We support his decision as he works to get back to where he was physically prior to the injury. Naz is a terrific person and an important part of our team both on and off the court. I’m confident his teammates will come together and respond to this in a positive manner.”

Mitrou-Long averaged 12.0 points per game in eight appearances this season, all starts. With him no longer in the rotation Iowa State will need more from guards Matt Thomas and Hallice Cooke moving forward. Thomas, who’s averaging 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26 minutes of action per game, has played well of late. In the last two games he’s shot 11-for-17 from three, scoring 19 points in the Cyclones’ comeback win over Iowa and following that up with a 17-point performance against UAPB.

Cooke, who began his college career at Oregon State, is currently averaging 5.4 points and 14.9 minutes per game and he went scoreless on Sunday. Iowa State will add forward Deonte Burton (transfer from Marquette) to the mix at the end of the week when they take on Northern Iowa, but to lose Mitrou-Long hurts given the spark he provides the Cyclones in the energy department as well as being a capable perimeter shooter.

No. 4 Iowa State beats Arkansas-Pine Bluff 78-64

Chauncy Parker, Jameel McKay
Associated Press
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AMES, Iowa (AP) Jameel McKay scored 18 points with eight rebounds, and No. 4 Iowa State held off Arkansas-Pine Bluff 78-64 Sunday for its ninth straight win.

Matt Thomas had 17 points in his first start of the season for the Cyclones (9-0). They rested guard Naz Mitrou-Long, who is still working his way back from offseason surgery to repair both hips.

The Golden Lions (2-8) hung around for about 35 minutes against an Iowa State team three days removed from an emotional 83-82 win over rival Iowa. But Monte Morris’ alley-oop to McKay gave the Cyclones a 70-54 lead with just more than 5 minutes left.

Ghiavonni Robinson scored 15 points for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which lost its third straight.

This was Iowa State’s second-to-last game against a low-major opponent. Arkansas-Pine Bluff caused more problems for the Cyclones than most thought it could.

Iowa State was sloppy from the outset, turning the ball over seven times in the first 10 minutes. It didn’t take its first double-digit lead until late in the first half, when a pair of free throws by Abdel Nader put the Cyclones up 33-23.

The Golden Lions played at times as well as they have all season, and some defensive lapses kept Iowa State from making the kind of big run that would’ve put them away earlier. The Cyclones also committed 13 turnovers, but the game was never really in doubt.

Morris, whose floater with 9 seconds left beat the Hawkeyes, had 12 points and 11 assists for his third double-double this season.

TIP-INS

Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Golden Lions have been beaten by at least 14 points in each of their losses. … Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s first home game isn’t until Jan. 16 against Southern. … Arkansas-Pine Bluff hit just two free throws.

Iowa State: Mitrou-Long started the first eight games, averaging 12 points. Thomas started in place of Long. … Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register missed the game after breaking his leg when fans stormed the court following Thursday’s win over Iowa. Peterson told The Associated Press he hopes to cover Iowa State’s next game, Saturday in Des Moines against Northern Iowa.

UP NEXT

Arkansas-Pine Bluff plays at Santa Clara on Tuesday.

Iowa State plays Northern Iowa in Des Moines on Saturday.

Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LukeMeredithAP

Iowa State’s Matt Thomas hoping to be consistently productive this season

Steve Prohm, Matt Thomas, Monte Morris, Jameel McKay
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Iowa State junior guard Matt Thomas was brought into the program a few years back to be a perimeter shooting weapon. The 6-foot-4 native of Wisconsin saw his minutes decline as a sophomore last season and he’s hoping to be more of a consistent presence under new head coach Steve Prohm.

In a story from Todd Sommerfeldt of the LaCrosse Tribune, Thomas described how he’s communicating and trying to learn what Prohm wants out of him for this season. Now that former head coach Fred Hoiberg has moved on to the Chicago Bulls, Thomas has a clean slate with a new head coach.

“We had individual meetings with him,” Thomas said of Prohm in the story. “He told me what he’s all about, and what he said matched my beliefs.

“He expects a lot and holds guys accountable, and I like that.”

While Thomas might have struggled to find the floor in the second half as a sophomore, part of the reason he wasn’t seeing heavy minutes is his perimeter shot has struggled at times during his college career. Thomas is a 33 percent career 3-point shooter in his two seasons at Iowa State and I’m sure both the team and Thomas would like to see that number improve this season.

It’s hard to say why Thomas didn’t shoot the ball as well as he could have these past few seasons, but he was a starter for Iowa State on their trip to Spain this summer and he could be an important piece to this season’s roster. If he’s spacing the floor and hitting shots, it makes the Cyclones that much tougher to defend this season.