No. 4 Iowa State beats Chattanooga 83-63
AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State has become known as one of the nation's top 3-point shooting teams.
The Cyclones have finally found their stroke.
Naz Mitrou-Long scored 24 points, Georges Niang added 19 and fourth-ranked Iowa State beat Chattanooga 83-63 on Monday night for its third straight win.
Monte Morris had 14 points and 10 assists for his second career double-double with the Cyclones (3-0). They celebrated their highest ranking since the 1996-97 season by hitting a season-high 14 3s - including six from Mitrou-Long.
''We really shot the 3 well. We hadn't done that extremely well in the first two games. But this team's offense is very capable of doing a lot of special things,'' coach Steve Prohm said.
Iowa State stretched a 15-point halftime lead to 23 early in the second half in cruising to their 29th straight non-conference win at home.
Casey Jones led Chattanooga with 16 points. The Mocs fell a game short of their first 4-0 start in 26 years.
Chattanooga got Iowa State's attention though after beating Georgia and Illinois on the road.
The Cyclones were more than ready for the Southern Conference favorites.
An early 18-2 run put Iowa State up by double digits. Chattanooga kept trying to keep it close, even stuffing Cyclones center Jameel McKay on one occasion. But Morris' steal gave Iowa State the ball right back, and McKay found Mitrou-Long for an open 3.
The Cyclones hit 6 of their first 9 three-point tries, and Mitrou-Long opened the second half with a three more that gave Iowa State a 60-37 lead.
''These guys were finding me, and it felt really good and it was going in the hoop, so today was the day,'' Mitrou-Long said.
McKay pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds. He's now averaging nearly 13 a game.
''He's just a monster out there. The tenacity that he's playing with is something we're going to need,'' Niang said.
Iowa State: The Cyclones jumped from seventh to fourth on Monday. ...The game was part of the Emerald Coast Classic, which will conclude this weekend in Niceville, Florida. ...Monday's win was a much-needed boost for Iowa State fans. Popular football coach Paul Rhoads was fired Sunday following a 3-8 start.
Chattanooga: Matt McCall was the first Mocs coach to start his tenure 3-0 since Henry Dickerson in 1997...Like Iowa State, Chattanooga starts five upperclassmen. ...The Mocs built double-digit leads against Georgia and Illinois, blew them both and came back to win by just six combined points.
PIVOTAL MOMENT: Iowa State's ball movement was sensational for much of the night. In one sequence, Morris drove to the baseline and kicked it out to Niang near the elbow. Niang then whipped a pass to Matt Thomas for a 3 from the top of the key that put Iowa State ahead 20-9. ''Those guys are fun to watch when the ball is moving,'' Prohm said.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: Iowa State has a possible matchup with UAB, the team that knocked it out of the NCAA Tournament, on Saturday in Florida after it faces Virginia Tech. ''The last time we looked ahead UAB snubbed us. We'll just take Tech first and, we know who we want, but we'll (focus on) Tech first.''
Iowa State plays Virginia Tech in Niceville on Friday.
Chattanooga faces Alabama State in Niceville on Friday, six hours before the Cyclones tip off.