A closer than expected win for the gang in gold tonight, but still satisfying none the less.
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To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Georges Niang led Iowa State with a brand-new career-high of 30 points on just over 50% shooting while also collecting nine rebounds and dishing five assists. The weight he shed in the off season has him looking more energetic than ever.
Complementing Niang’s barrage was Bryce Dejean-Jones’ 20 points and 11 rebounds (his first official double-double for ISU). Most pundits are predicting Dejean-Jones to be among the biggest impact transfers and he didn’t disappoint as the most obvious second option for the team.
The other three starters, Monte Morris, Naz Long, and Dustin Hogue, rounded out the scoring by all reaching double figures. Hogue’s 15 points were most while Morris added 14 and Long, 10. I’m very interested to see if Hogue and Long remain starters when Abdel Nader, Matt Thomas, and Jameel McKay become eligible so the contributions of those two will be important to watch.
The team doesn’t really have a bonifide third option at this point, so it is important for someone to step up and establish a consistent output…
The team doesn’t really have a bonifide third option at this point, so it is important for someone to step up and establish a consistent output as the non-conference schedule progresses. Several of the players I thought might push for a place in the rotation also failed to do so.
It wasn’t all good in the game, however. As I identified in Oakland’s players to watch, Corey Petros proved to be a handful in the post, scoring 25 points and grabbing eight rebounds with six assists on top of everything. Kahlil Felder also scored 23 points with 10 assists. Defense shouldn’t be a huge problem as players come back to the team for more depth and toughness, but on Friday night the lack of defense allowed Oakland to somewhat hang around until the end.
Enough negativity. The Fred Hoiberg system looks as fluid as ever and the players are definitely having fun with the game. They’ll shake out the cobwebs soon enough with a big game looming against Georgia State on Monday.