SAN ANTONIO — Third-seeded Iowa State will be without third-leading scorer and starter Georges Niang the rest of the NCAA tournament after he fractured a bone in his right foot during its second-round win Friday night.
It is significant because the Cyclones depend on the 6-foot-7, 240-pound sophomore, who is averaging 16.7 points per game this season, for his inside-and-outside scoring ability.
In his team’s 93-75 victory against No. 14 North Carolina Central, he scored a team-high 24 points, which included a 4-of-5 effort on threes, but left the game with 7:34 left after his foot was stepped on.
“That’s a big loss,” said DeAndre Kane, the Cyclones’ second-leading scorer. “Georges is one of our main guys. He’s our leader. When things ain’t going right out there, we know we can always count on Georges to make a play for us.”
The Cyclones (27-7) next face sixth-seeded North Carolina (24-9). They will now depend heavily on wing Melvin Ejim (18.7 points per game), the Big 12 player of the year, and Kane (16.9 points per game), a third-team all-American by some.
“We’ll miss him,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said of Niang. “But I believe in our guys. I know we’ll come out and compete Sunday. Is it going to be enough? Who knows? But we’ll definitely be ready to give our best effort.”