Lamar-Iowa St. Preview
Iowa State struggled greatly in its latest matchup with a dangerous opponent, and a shot at redemption is around the corner.
Tuesday night's matchup with Lamar might not fit that description, but it'll be the Cyclones' last home tune-up before unbeaten Arkansas visits Ames two days later.
The week's first contest seems unlikely to threaten No. 20 Iowa State's 22-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents considering Lamar (2-4) has dropped its last 10 against the Top 25 by at least 20 points.
Still, the Cyclones (3-1) have plenty to work on after last Tuesday's 72-63 loss to Maryland in the title game of the CBE Classic in Kansas City.
Iowa State shot 29.7 percent against a younger Terrapins team, which grounded the experienced Cyclones with the second-worst shooting percentage in five seasons under Fred Hoiberg. It was also the second time in 46 games they failed to reach the 70-point mark.
"They certainly played like the more poised team," said Hoiberg, who started one sophomore and four upperclassmen. "It's how you respond to adversity and this, certainly, a lot hit us tonight."
The one starter with a strong shooting night was transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones, who made half of his 12 field-goal attempts and finished with 17 points. The senior is averaging 14.8 points in his first four games, while junior Georges Niang leads the way with 19.5.
The third-year starter, however, had his second shaky shooting effort in his last three with a 28-point effort in a win over Alabama in between. Niang was 4 of 14 - including 1 of 6 from 3-point range - against Maryland eight days after going 3 for 12 against Georgia State.
"I can't remember the last time we shot this bad," Niang said. "I can put a lot of this load on my shoulders, being here three years and knowing how coach wants us to play."
Forward Dustin Hogue had the worst shooting night of his career, going 1 of 8 for three points after averaging 15.7 while hitting 73.1 percent in his first three games. The senior went without a rebound in 24 minutes for the first time in his 40 games at Iowa State.
Point guard Monte Morris also had an off game, going 1 of 8 and finishing with seven points and just two assists. The sophomore is 1 for 13 in the last two games.
Morris' 8.67 assist-to-turnover ratio is among the best in the country after establishing a national record (4.79) last season, and Hoiberg expects a more efficient team effort to allow that level of success.
"Our spacing was just brutal," Hoiberg said. "We weren't getting to the corners on the break - we just weren't playing for each other."
The struggles are unlikely to continue against Lamar, which is yielding a 49.8-percent shooting mark in six games. The Cardinals opened the season against then-No. 22 SMU, which shot 61.1 percent in a 39-point victory.
Lamar fell 71-59 at Texas Southern on Saturday, and coach Tic Price was again critical of his team's defensive effort against a previously winless team.
"This was a tough loss," Price told the team's official website. "We didn't have anyone step up defensively and make the big play for us. We struggled to end a defensive series with a rebound, which led to too many second-chance opportunities for them. Then when we were able to get steals out of our trap, we weren't able to convert."
Tyran de Lattibeaudiere scored a team-high 16 points and leads the Cardinals with 15.3 per game on 65.0 percent shooting. The senior, however, was held to six points on 3-of-8 shooting against SMU.