Iowa St. 86, Lehigh 77

BY foxsports • November 12, 2011

Royce White scored 25 points in his first game in two years, and Iowa State unveiled its new-look team with an 86-77 season-opening victory over Lehigh on Saturday.

White, who started his college career at Minnesota but never played for the Gophers, is one of four Division I transfers playing for the Cyclones, who got 12 points from returning regular Scott Christopherson and shot 65 percent (17 of 26) in the second half.

Lehigh (0-2) led St. John's by 16 points in its opener before losing 78-73 and trailed Iowa State just 39-37 in the final minute of the first half. But White converted a three-point play off a crowd-pleasing dunk with 8.8 seconds left in the half, and the Cyclones outscored Lehigh 37-14 in the first 12 1/2 minutes of the second half to break it open.

Holden Greiner led Lehigh with 17 points, and C.J. McCollum scored 16.

Iowa State also got solid contributions from its other transfers. Chris Babb (Penn State), Chris Allen (Michigan State) and Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) each scored 10 points, and Babb handed out five assists.

But White, the most highly regarded of the newcomers, clearly was the star in this one.

The brawny 6-foot-8 sophomore was 9 for 15 from the field with two dunks, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked three shots and had two assists.

He made his most spectacular play with the clock winding down in the first half and Iowa State holding a two-point lead. He faked Lehigh's Justin Maneri with a stutter step, drove the lane and slammed the ball through with one hand while being fouled, then sank the free throw.

McCollum hit two free throws to draw Lehigh within 42-39 at halftime, but the Mountain Hawks had no chance once the Cyclones got rolling in the second half.

White got three quick baskets inside, the last one after knocking the ball away at the other end and beating the Mountain Hawks down the floor for a layup. When Melvin Ejim followed with a jumper, the Cyclones led 55-43.

Less than two minutes later, Booker, who normally plays inside, hit a 3-pointer to begin a run of four straight treys that boosted the lead to 73-51. Junior college transfer Tyrus McGee hit two 3s in that stretch and Christopherson knocked down the fourth one.

Allen's layup gave Iowa State a 79-53 lead with 7:37 left, and the Cyclones coasted from there.

Lehigh ran its offense efficiently in the first half and jumped to an early 9-4 lead. After falling behind, the Mountain Hawks regained the lead at 32-31 on a three-point play by McCollum, the nation's top returning scorer.

Iowa State reserve Bubu Palo then hit two free throws and a 3-pointer for a 36-32 lead, and the Cyclones never trailed again.

Lehigh shot 54 percent in the first half but made just 13 of 35 second-half shots.

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