Southern U.-Iowa St. Preview
The No. 14 Cyclones look to continue their dominance of non-conference opponents at home Sunday night against struggling Southern.
Iowa State (7-1) is among the highest-scoring teams in the country, averaging 84.4 points. The Cyclones have been better lately, scoring 88.5 per game while winning four straight since turning in their worst offensive showing of the season in a 72-63 loss to Maryland on Nov. 25.
Their latest effort may have been their most impressive, beating Iowa 90-75 on the road Friday without Dejean-Jones, the team's second-leading scorer at 17.1 points per game and top rebounder with 6.9. The senior guard was suspended for one game by coach Fred Hoiberg after he was arrested a day earlier on a marijuana charge and noise violations.
The pot charge was dismissed by a judge, but the noise charges are pending.
"This defined us. It showed character. You know, all the guys in there before the game were saying 'Let's do this for Bryce,'" said guard Naz Long, who had a season-high 21 points with six rebounds and five assists.
Having Dejean-Jones back may not matter much since Iowa State is returning to Ames, where it's won 25 straight meetings with non-conference opponents by an average of 22.5 points dating to a loss to Northern Iowa on Nov. 30, 2011.
It's the Cyclones' longest such streak since reeling off 28 straight against teams outside the Big 12 from 1998-2001.
Each of those streaks includes a win over Southern, with the most recent coming on Nov. 9, 2012. Iowa State stifled the Jaguars, holding them to 30.3 percent shooting - 5 for 25 from beyond the arc - in the 82-59 victory.
Georges Niang had 15 points and 12 boards off the bench in that matchup - his first collegiate game - and he may be relishing another. The forward leads the Cyclones with 17.8 points per game, but he's totaled 25 in the past two after scoring 26 in a 95-77 win over then-No. 18 Arkansas on Dec. 4.
Iowa State has won all 20 meetings versus SWAC foes.
Southern has been outscored by an average of 28.5 points while losing 13 straight meetings with ranked opposition since 1996, including all four last season.
The Jaguars didn't inspire much hope in changing that, dropping to 0-4 on the road while committing 20 turnovers in an 85-57 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday.
"We've got to forget about this one," coach Roman Banks said.
That could be said for much of the season. Southern averages 58.7 points and continues to struggle after losing five of its top seven scorers from last season's team that averaged 71.2 and won the SWAC regular-season title.
Trelun Banks, the coach's son, is back among the team's top scorers at 10.4 points per game. Last year's SWAC Freshman of the Year, the guard scored 15 points with four assists against the Golden Gophers, but he averaged just 4.8 while going 5 for 29 from the floor in four games against ranked teams last season.