Cyclones zip past Akron in second half
HONOLULU – Georges Niang and Iowa State just keep rolling along. The program’s fastest start is within reach, and it looks as if the Cyclones could take down a few school records this season.
Niang scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, and No. 14 Iowa State beat Akron 83-60 on Monday in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
“Today was a big game,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Iowa State improved to 10-0 for the second time in school history, joining the 1996-97 team that made it all the way to the Sweet 16. The Cyclones will play Boise State on Wednesday night for the tournament title.
Melvin Ejim had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Iowa State, and Dustin Hogue scored 18 points. DeAndre Kane added 15 points and 11 boards.
Reggie McAdams led Akron (6-3) with 13 points.
Iowa State erased an early eight-point deficit with a 17-3 run. Niang hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to make it 37-31 at halftime.
Niang said his team realized during that run what it needed to do to get the lead.
“We got a lot of stops on the defensive end, I think that helped us in transition to get easy buckets,” Niang said.
Iowa State scored 46 points and shot just better than 55 percent in the second half, mostly on layups and dunks. The Cyclones finished with 42 points in the paint.
“We did such a good job going after the second shot,” Hoiberg said. “As we told our guys, the game begins after we shoot that first one we need to get after those long rebounds.”
With eight minutes left, Kane found Ejim under the basket for a dunk that gave the Cyclones a 70-50 lead.
“We got all the loose balls in the second half,” Hoiberg said. “I thought that they got the majority of the 50-50 balls in the first half, but once we did that we outrebounded that team by 10, which was big.”
Akron shot 40 percent in the half, but made just 5-of-18 3-pointers and attempted no free throws. The Zips were 11-for-35 from long range and 1-for-6 at the line for the game.
“We tired, and then mentally we didn’t handle adversity very well,” Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. “You know, we kind of just died on the vine.”
Niang was 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line in his fourth consecutive game with at least 20 points.
Niang said chemistry has played a key role in the fast start, with teammates getting each other involved on offense and backing each other up on defense.
“That’s huge of us and if we keep doing that, the sky is the limit,” he said.
Boise State 80,
SOUTH Carolina 54
HONOLULU – Anthony Drmic scored 30 points to lead Boise State to an 80-54 win over South Carolina in Monday’s semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic.
Mikey Thompson added 10 points for Boise State (10-2), which will play No. 14 Iowa State (10-0) in Wednesday’s championship.
Brenton Williams led the Gamecocks (3-6) with 14 points and Duane Notice added 13.
Drmic scored 21 points in the first half and looked to be on pace to match his career high of 34 points.
The Broncos built a double-digit lead just nine minutes into the game. Boise State scored from all directions, driving into the lane for layups and hitting 3-pointers. Boise State forced 11 first-half turnovers and converted that into 12 points.
Boise State led 43-28 at halftime and pulled away in the second half as South Carolina struggled to find the basket, shooting just 37 percent.
The Broncos outscored the Gamecocks 16-9 to start the second half and led 59-35 with 11 minutes left. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Jeff Elorriaga gave Boise State its largest lead of the game at 67-37 with nine minutes remaining.
With its football team playing in Tuesday’s Honolulu Bowl, Boise State had a vocal contingent of about 75 fans and cheerleaders at the game.