Iowa St.-BYU Preview
Iowa State doesn't expect its first game in two seasons as a ranked team to be an easy one.
Looking to build on the victory that propelled them into the Top 25, the visiting No. 21 Cyclones hope to maintain their perfect record overall and against a BYU squad that's also undefeated.
Iowa State (3-0) made an early statement Sunday when it closed with a 23-10 run to beat then-No. 7 Michigan 77-70 at home. The victory came before a packed house and secured the Cyclones a spot in the poll for the first time since they were 25th on March 5, 2012.
"This is huge for our program, for our fans to see our team winning like this," forward Georges Niang said. "I'm excited for the things that are in the future for us."
The Cyclones are looking to start 4-0 for the fourth time in five seasons.
"We've got a huge opportunity in front of us," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We need to go out there and not get caught up in that stuff. We know the challenge in front of us and how difficult it is."
Iowa State is 5-0 against BYU (4-0), but has yet to face the Cougars at the high-energy Marriott Center. BYU is averaging 96.3 points and 50.2 percent shooting, and it could have star guard Tyler Haws back after he missed the last two contests with a lower abdominal strain.
"I think that every game is a new challenge," said BYU coach Dave Rose, whose team won 112-103 at Stanford on Nov. 11. "What we have to do is respond to each challenge and each style of how everyone will play."
Haws averaged 21.7 points and 48.3 percent from the field in 2012-13, and he's scored 59 in two games this season. However, he was held to nine on 4-of-13 shooting in an 83-62 loss at Iowa State on Dec. 1.
"The big thing is to be prepared," Hoiberg said. "Really working on getting back in transition. If we don't get back in transition it's not going to be a very fun game."
The Cyclones flexed their defensive muscle by holding the Wolverines to 42.0 percent shooting and preseason All-American Mitch McGary to one of his nine points in the second half of his 2012-13 debut.
Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim enjoyed a better season debut with a game-high 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes after missing the first two games with a hyperextended knee.
''Melvin, I can't say enough about him," Hoiberg said. "I told him in my office (Saturday), 'If you do get the green light, I'm going to gradually ease you back into this thing' - and I think I took him out for two minutes in the second half. Pretty big-time performance from Mel."
Ejim, who averaged 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in 2012-13, had 13 and eight against the Cougars last season.
BYU guard Matt Carlino scored 48 points and shot 47.4 percent in victories over Weber State and Stanford. However, he totaled 26 and made eight of 30 as the Cougars beat Mount St. Mary's and Colorado Mesa by a combined 56 points. He scored 12 at Iowa State last season.