Iowa St.-Iowa Preview
Fred Hoiberg understands the importance of the annual rivalry game between Iowa State and Iowa, both as a Cyclones player from 1991-95 and as their current coach.
None of it mattered after one of his best players was arrested.
Second-leading scorer Bryce Dejean-Jones will serve a one-game suspension Friday night when the 14th-ranked Cyclones head to Iowa City for a showdown with the Hawkeyes.
Dejean-Jones, averaging 17.1 points and a team-best 6.9 rebounds in his first season in Ames, was arrested early Thursday and charged with two misdemeanors following a noise complaint at his apartment. A police spokesperson said a search warrant was executed because officers said they smelled marijuana, which was later found inside the residence.
The senior guard had a charge dismissed of gathering where marijuana is used, a serious misdemeanor, but still faces two simple misdemeanors for a nuisance party and noise ordinance violation. Police said it was not the first noise complaint at his home.
"I've talked to numerous people in our department, with our administration. I had a very good talk with Bryce, from where the charges were this morning to where they are now," Hoiberg said. "We feel that the best move for Bryce, for our team is to suspend him ... this, ultimately, is my decision."
Hoiberg declined to elaborate on his talk with Dejean-Jones, a UNLV transfer who is the top shooter in the Big 12 at 56.8 percent, is one of five Cyclones scoring in double figures and was just named conference newcomer of the week for a second time.
His best performances have come in the last two games with a combined 49 points on 17-of-20 shooting, including 6 for 8 from 3-point range.
The suspension comes at a bad time for Iowa State (6-1), which has cruised through three games since its first loss but faces a much more difficult task against Iowa (8-2). The Hawkeyes have won six straight overall and four of five meetings in Iowa City.
Following their 72-63 defeat against Maryland on Nov. 25, the Cyclones have beaten Lamar, then-No. 18 Arkansas and UMKC by an average of 24.0 points, but the Hawkeyes are ranked 15th in the nation with an average of 54.9 points allowed.
Iowa State's up-tempo offense, which is 12th in Division I with 83.6 points per game, definitely has its work cut out, but the Cyclones' defense will also need to show up against an Iowa team scoring 72.0 per game.
The good news is that the Cyclones still have forward Georges Niang, who leads them with 18.0 points per game and is second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage (50.6). Niang had a quiet night Tuesday against UMKC, scoring a season-low nine in a 73-56 win, but he had 26 points and a career high-tying eight assists in a 95-77 victory over the Razorbacks last Thursday.
"I've been watching (Niang) for a long time, and I have never seen him have a bad game," coach Fran McCaffery told Iowa's official website. "You're seeing a guy that is confident in himself and the system. They run everything through him."
Beyond Niang, the Cyclones appear to have plenty of depth to make up for Dejean-Jones' absence. Dustin Hogue, Naz Long (11.6 apiece) and Monte Morris (10.3) are averaging double figures, and Iowa State is getting 20.2 points per game from the bench.
"When you look at (Iowa State), it isn't only one guy," McCaffery said. "It's multiple weapons. They have snipers, offensive rebounders, guys who can go off the dribble, and off isolation. They're playing fast, moving the ball and setting up shots for each other."
Iowa is coming off Tuesday's 67-44 win over Alcorn State. Aaron White scored 15 and Jarrod Uthoff added 13 as the Hawkeyes overcame 42.1 percent shooting by allowing 32.8.