EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 27, 2014

Methuen's Niang (24 points) powers Iowa State


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — AMES, Iowa (AP) — West Virginia blew out Iowa State two weeks ago because it hit 13 3-pointers and shot 54 percent from the field.

The Mountaineers shot just 36 percent in the rematch — including making just 5 3s — and found themselves on the other side of a big defeat.

Sophomore Georges Niang of Methuen scored 24 points, DeAndre Kane had 17 and 11 rebounds and No. 15 Iowa State beat West Virginia 83-66 last night for its seventh win in eight games.

Naz Long had 15 points on five 3-pointers for the Cyclones (22-5, 10-5 Big 12), who have recorded three straight 10-win seasons in league play for the first time.

Iowa State rolled despite playing nearly the entire second half without star Melvin Ejim, who sat because of foul trouble.

Ejim, a serious Big 12 Player of the Year candidate, picked up his fourth foul on a technical with 17:13 left. The Mountaineers quickly capitalized, cutting an 11-point deficit to 53-49.

But the Cyclones showed why they have got so much more than Ejim to lean on.

Long and Niang answered with crucial consecutive 3s, and Long’s fifth 3 made it 64-54 with 9:45 left. Kane and Hogue followed with tough inside baskets, and Hogue’s tip-in gave the Cyclones a 72-61 lead.

Iowa State was 9 of 20 from 3-point range.

“The difference in the game was they made shots. We didn’t,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.

Dustin Hogue helped cover for Ejim’s absence inside with 15 points and nine rebounds, including a rare 3 with 3:17 left that put the Cyclones ahead 79-65.

“Overall, when Melvin went out, we just came together and did a great job of not only keeping the lead but extending it,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Juwan Staten had 19 points and Eron Harris added 15 to lead West Virginia (15-13, 7-8), which lost its third straight.

West Virginia guard Terry Henderson, who averages 12.1 points, missed his second straight game with an undisclosed illness.

The Mountaineers suffered in his absence, with Nathan Adrian and Gary Browne combining for just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting.

Adrian “has been a better (power forward) than a (small forward), and that’s just being honest,” Huggins said. “Gary doesn’t make any shots.”

Iowa State looked ready to pull away from the Mountaineers early in the second half — and perhaps even match the 25-point beating West Virginia put on the Cyclones two weeks ago.

It wouldn’t prove to be so easy.

“The scouting report on Naz is don’t let him shoot open 3s,” Huggins said.

Without question, the low point of Iowa State’s season came at the hands of West Virginia.

The Mountaineers jumped on the Cyclones from the opening tip and ran them out of Morgantown. To make matters worse, Harris was ejected late for drilling Monte Morris — shortly after Hogue kicked West Virginia’s Kevin Noreen while going for a rebound.

Things got chippy right away in Ames too, with Ejim and Noreen exchanging early words. Huggins then drew a technical for getting after the officials, and consecutive bank shots by Hogue capped a 24-5 run and gave Iowa State a 28-14 lead.

But the Cyclones are also prone to bouts of sloppy play, and they finished the half with a number of fouls and ill-advised shots that let the Mountaineers close within 39-33.

West Virginia couldn’t capitalize on Ejim’s foul trouble, making their final push for the postseason even tougher.

The Mountaineers will open March with a home game against TCU, which is winless in the Big 12, before closing with a road game at Oklahoma and a home game with No. 5 Kansas.

“We didn’t get stops and we didn’t make any shots,” Huggins said. “We’ve got to make open shots.”