November 23, 2014

Although it has received few contributions from the reserves, Iowa State is looking for its depth becomes more of an asset in its first back-to-back games of the season.

With two potentially valuable rotation players back, the 13th-ranked Cyclones take on undefeated Alabama on Monday night in the opener of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.

The Cyclones are on the verge of their third straight 3-0 start, averaging 87.0 points and 50.0 percent shooting in winning their first two by a combined 34 points.

Iowa State starters, however, have accounted for 165 of the team's 174 points after the bench totaled five in last Monday's 81-58 home win over Georgia State.

Sophomore Monte Morris led five starters in double figures with 19 points, nine assists and no turnovers, while Naz Long scored 17. However, Georges Niang scored 10 and shot 3 of 12 after finishing with a career-high 30 points in the opener.

The Cyclones will face Arizona State or Maryland on Tuesday after their matchup with the Crimson Tide (3-0).

Abdel Nader and Matt Thomas may be able to help after serving two-game suspensions following their arrests for drunk driving in the offseason. Nader redshirted last season after transferring from Northern Illinois, while Thomas averaged 5.5 points in 36 games as a freshman.

"Both kept themselves in shape and kept themselves ready when they were missing those contests," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "It's good to have them back on board and hopefully they take advantage of their opportunities."

The Cyclones look to extend a 10-game winning streak against unranked opponents at neutral sites. They improved to 4-5 all-time at the Sprint Center after taking three in a row there in March, including the Big 12 title game.

After allowing Oakland to shoot 51.8 percent in its opener, Iowa State limited the Panthers to 39.1 from the floor. Georgia State stars R.J. Hunter and Ryann Harrow were a combined 14 of 42.

Alabama didn't miss a shot from the field until around the 14-minute mark of Thursday's 81-67 win over Southern Miss. The Tide shot 57.1 percent overall and 9 of 19 from 3-point range.

Levi Randolph made his first six shots on the way to 23 points, while Ricky Tarrant added 18 and Shannon Hale had his first career double-double with 12 and 11 boards.

Randolph, a senior guard, is averaging team highs of 19.0 points and 7.7 rebounds along with 60.7 percent shooting.

Alabama hasn't scored fewer than 80 while winning its first three at home by an average of 16.0 points.

"I don't think we've come close to scratching the surface of how good we can be," coach Anthony Grant said. "So we'll take it one game at a time and try to continue to get better."

The Tide beat the Cyclones 83-68 in their only meeting Dec. 23, 2007 in Las Vegas, but they've dropped 17 in a row against ranked opponents.

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