Iowa State may have suffered some jet lag getting to Hawai’i, but they had symptoms of a team that hasn’t played much in the past three weeks. Despite some flaws on both ends of the court, they were able to hold off George Mason in the quarterfinals and move on in the Diamond Head Classic.
Two players that didn’t suffer jet lag were Dustin Hogue and Melvin Ejim, who kept the Cyclones (9-0) from having to escape a big deficit. Hogue finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while Ejim recorded his 24th double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Georges Niang led all scorers after a very slow start with 22 points.
Niang’s emergence in the second half, along with Iowa State’s ability to get to the free throw line, were some of the reasons why the Cyclones were able to pull away at the end. ISU made 22 of 28 free throw attempts while George Mason went 7 of 12.
3-point shooting became a bigger factor for the Patriots (5-5) than it did with the Cyclones. They made three more from the perimeter than the Cyclones, with special thanks to Patrick Holloway who made 5 of 9 from the arch off the bench. For a team that averages around 60 points a game, those additional points by a team that doesn’t shoot from the perimeter much turned out to be a key reason why George Mason was able to hang around.
However, turning the ball over 14 times on 10 assists is no way to win against the Cyclones who were able to get 18 assists on nine turnovers. It also didn’t help that the team’s leading scorer, Sherrod Wright, went 0-5 from the field and got just two points.
Iowa State continues their undefeated start to the season and will play on Monday against the winner of the second quarterfinal of the Diamond Head classic between Oregon State and Akron. Tip-off will be around 4:00 PM Central time, approximately a half hour after the conclusion of the consolation game that tips off at 1:30 PM CT.