Cyclones unwrap Christmas day championship
HONOLULU – Iowa State is flying home from its holiday trip to Hawaii with three more wins and its best start in school history.
The No. 14 Cyclones beat Boise State 70-66 on Wednesday night to win the Diamond Head Classic, recovering from a season-low 27 points in the first half.
The 70 total points also was a season low, but the result was still the only one they’ve known so far – the latest of 11 wins.
“We’ve only played eight games coming into this tournament so it was very important to get these and take care of business and give us some momentum heading into conference,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
DeAndre Kane scored 23 points, winning tournament MVP honors for his three-game performance. Iowa State beat George Mason and Akron to get to the final.
Kane hit a 3-pointer with less than 2 minutes left to help seal the win for the Cyclones. Boise State’s Derrick Marks had a chance to tie with less than 30 seconds left, but missed a 15-foot jumper.
Melvin Ejim had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Georges Niang had 16 points.
“The guys do a great job of sharing the ball and being unselfish and understanding who’s got the best mismatch out there on the floor,” Hoiberg said. “DeAndre did a great job getting to spots and making the right play. Georges hit some huge shots for us and Melvin did what he always does for us by getting us extra possessions.”
Kane said he, Ejim and Niang are “like a brotherhood.”
“We hang together every day and all day and when one guy gets it rolling we know that we’re going to that guy no matter what,” he said.
Iowa State finished with 14 offensive rebounds, outscoring Boise State 16-5 on second-chance points.
Iowa State pushed beyond its best-ever start after tying it Monday. The Cyclones started with 10 straight wins in the 1996-97 season en route to a final 16 appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Derrick Marks had 23 points for Boise State (10-3).
Iowa State came back after making less than a third of its shots in the first half, improving to 50 percent in the second half, including 6 of 13 3-pointers (46.2 percent).
“In the first half we were a little stagnant on offense, guys were shooting shots, not running back and we weren’t as hungry as we were in the first half as we were in the second half,” Kane said. “(Boise State) came out really aggressive and they got up big on us.”
Kane put Iowa State within a point about 6 minutes into the second half. Kane took two dribbles with his right hand near the top of the key, then hit a jumper and was fouled. He missed a free throw to tie, but Ejim pulled down the rebound and hit a layup to give the Cyclones their first lead of the game.
Marks tied it at 60 with a jumper and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, but Iowa State responded with two free throws and a straightaway 3-pointer by Kane with less than 2 minutes left.
Boise State coach Leon Rice said there’s a reason Iowa State is undefeated.
“Nobody’s been able to do it and I think we did a great job both offensively and defensively,” he said. “We had a chance to be there at the end and that’s what we wanted, but they know how to make plays, they know how to win games and there’s a reason they’re undefeated.”
Kane, Ejim and Georges Niang were selected to the tournament’s all-tournament team, winning trophies etched in paddles for canoes or paddle surfing. Anthony Drmic made the all-tournament team for Boise State.