MVSU-Iowa St. Preview

(AP) - Iowa State's Monte Morris showed so much promise as a freshman that it looked like he might become one of the nation's best point guards someday.

That day has arrived.

Morris has forced his way into the discussion about the country's top floor generals with a brilliant start to his sophomore season.

Morris has 56 assists against just nine turnovers through 10 games - a pace that tops the national assist-to-turnover ratio mark Morris set last season. He's also averaging 11.3 points per game on 50.6 percent shooting.

''The kid plays with an unbelievable amount of swagger. He gets his teammates involved. He does whatever it takes to win basketball games, and he's a two-way player. It's just such a luxury to have that guy running your offense because you know he's going to make plays,'' Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said as the ninth-ranked Cyclones (9-1) prepared to host Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday.

Morris developed so quickly as a freshman that by the end of last January, Hoiberg had him playing alongside first-team All-Big 12 pick DeAndre Kane, who was also a natural point guard.

Morris set an NCAA record with nearly five assists for every turnover in 2013-14.

But Kane's departure meant Morris would be the lynchpin for Iowa State's aggressive offense in 2014-15. With the ball in his hands more than ever, the turnovers figured to spike as well.

Morris has instead proven to be one of the nation's most efficient point guards.

Morris hasn't had more than two turnovers in a game all year, despite playing a team-high 32.8 minutes per outing. Morris has nearly twice as many steals as giveaways, and in back-to-back wins over Georgia State and Alabama he had 21 assists without a turnover.

''I feel like I'm more active,'' Morris said. ''Knowing what to expect night in and night out, and knowing how the game is going to go (has been key). We know some teams are going to have runs here or there. I know we're going to have a run. So I just try to stay composed.''

Perhaps the best indicator of Morris' growth is the overall success of Iowa State's offense.

Under his guidance, the Cyclones, who have been off since beating Drake 83-54 on Dec. 20, are one of the country's highest-scoring teams at 84.6 points per game. They're one of six teams to shoot at least 50 percent from the field and average at least 80 points.

Though Morris is just fifth on the Cyclones in scoring, he's averaging nearly five points more per game than he did as a freshman.

Georges Niang leads high-powered Iowa State with 16.9 points per game and Bryce Dejean-Jones is not far behind at 16.0

With Morris directing the offense, Iowa State appears to have too much firepower for Mississippi Valley State (1-11).

The Delta Devils are one of the nation's lowest-scoring teams at 58.9 points and rank 344th out of 345 Division I schools in shooting at 33.3 percent. They're getting outscored by an average of 27.4 points.

Not only is MVSU dreadful on offense, it allows the second-most points in the country at 86.3 and its opponent field-goal percentage of 52.8 is the worst.

If that wasn't enough, the Delta Devils, who lost to Houston 80-53 on Sunday, are last in the nation in total rebounding margin at minus-17.4 boards per game.

The Cyclones are 4-0 all-time against MVSU, winning the last meeting 67-65 on Dec. 31, 2011. They've won 39 consecutive home games against unranked opponents and are seeking the program's 500th win at Hilton Coliseum.

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