Iowa State guard Monte Morris picks up a loose ball against Iona in the first half of a first-round men's college basketball game Thursday, March 17, 2016, in the NCAA Tournament in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski
March 17, 2016

DENVER (AP) Monte Morris showed no lingering effects of his right shoulder injury, scoring 20 points and dishing out eight assists in Iowa State's 94-81 win over Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Georges Niang's 28 points led the No. 3 seed Cyclones (22-11), who saw all five of their starters score in double figures. They will play Purdue or Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

Morris was injured against Kansas on March 5 and struggled in a loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament a week ago.

On Wednesday he declared he'd never felt better, and Thursday he went out and proved it, running a high-octane offense that outscored Iona (22-11), which was led by A.J. English's 28 points and Jordan Washington's 26.

The balanced Cyclones got 19 points from Abdel Nader, 14 from Matt Thomas and 11 from Jameel McKay.

The Gaels cut an 18-point second-half deficit to seven with just under three minutes remaining when English hit a pair of free throws to make it 83-76.

The comeback fizzled, however, after English was whistled for traveling on the next possession and then drew a technical foul during a timeout. The Cyclones sealed it with an 11-0 run.

Iona coach Tim Cluess, whose teams also were one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013, said Wednesday he was hoping for that special day against one of the top teams in the country: ''They may be better than us 364 days of the year, we just have to be better than them one day, and we're hoping that day is tomorrow.''

It wasn't.

After jumping out to a 5-0 lead, the Gaels watched the Cyclones seize control with a blistering 16-2 run engineered by Niang, Iowa State's first two-time All-American.

The Gaels were playing catch-up the rest of the way.

They trailed 45-33 at halftime and every time they made a run, Iowa State pushed back with its superior quickness, size and athleticism.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

Iona: The Gaels are officially 0-10 in the NCAA Tournament. Their 84-78 win over Holy Cross in 1980 was vacated because of NCAA violations.

Iowa State: Despite little depth, the Cyclones advanced to their school record fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament on the strength of wins over currently top-ranked Kansas and seventh-ranked Oklahoma.

TIP-INS

Iowa State: In their first win since Feb. 29, the Cyclones kept the Gaels at bay by sinking 20 of 25 free throws. They outshot Iona from the floor, 3-point range and the line.

Iona: The Gaels shot just 39 percent in the first half and missed 11 of 13 3-pointers. Moreover, they grabbed just five offensive boards and that lack of second-chance points put them in an early hole from which they couldn't climb out.

UP NEXT

Iowa State: The Cyclones play in the second round Saturday.

Iona: The Gaels bid farewell to three starting seniors - English, Isaiah Williams and Ibn Muhammad.

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Online:

AP College Basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

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