Cyclones go in search of two milestone wins

Dec 31, 2014 - 3:52 PM Ames, IA ( - A pair of teams at opposite ends of the spectrum get together on New Year's Eve, as the ninth-ranked Iowa State Cyclones play host to the Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State.

MVSU is off a horrific start, as it has won only one of its first 12 games. The Delta Devils knocked off another hapless squad in North Carolina A&T, 66-63, on Nov. 29 for their only win of the campaign, and they have lost five in a row since. The most recent outing resulted in an 83-50 defeat at Houston on Sunday, and the team is 0-10 in true road games. Mississippi Valley State will open Southwestern Athletic Conference play this Saturday at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Iowa State comes in sporting a 9-1 record, and the team is seeking a couple of milestone wins in this contest. A victory will give the program its 500th at Hilton Coliseum, while also earning head coach Fred Hoiberg his 100th career win. The Cyclones have won their last six games, and the only blemish on an otherwise spotless ledger is a 72-63 setback to Maryland in Kansas City on Nov. 25 as part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. ISU will play one more non- conference game against South Carolina this Saturday in Brooklyn, New York, and will tip off its Big 12 slate three days later at home against Oklahoma State.

Iowa State is 4-0 all-time against Mississippi Valley State, with the last meeting also taking place on New Year's Eve back in 2011 (67-65). The Cyclones are 21-0 all-time against teams from the SWAC.

MVSU failed once again in its attempt to compete against Houston, shooting a mere 37 percent from the field, which included misses on 15 of its 20 3-point attempts. The Delta Devils were hammered on the glass, 44-24, and they allowed the Cougars to drain 13 treys and hit 48.1 percent of their total shots. UH also logged a 15-8 edge in points at the foul line. About the only positive to come out of the game for the visitors was the fact that it goaded the Cougars into 18 turnovers. Isaac Williams scored 12 points for MVSU, while Jeffrey Simmons and Jordan Washington chipped in with 11 apiece.

Washington is averaging 14.5 ppg as the only player in double figures for the Delta Devils, who put up only 58.9 ppg in hitting their field goals a minuscule 33.3 percent of the time, and that includes a 28.8 percent showing from 3-point range. In stark contrast, foes are hitting 52.8 percent of their total shots, which includes more than seven treys per outing, and MVSU is the worst rebounding team in the nation, checking in with -17.5 differential in that regard. A +3.2 turnover margin is about the only saving grace at this point.

As has been the case in just about every game this season, Iowa State performed well at both ends of the court in its recent win over Drake. The Cyclones shot 54.2 percent from the field, burying 12-of-23 3-point tries, while keeping the Bulldogs from hitting even one trey (0-of-8) en route to 38.8 percent field goal efficiency overall. The Cyclones forced 18 turnovers and laid claim to a 36-29 rebounding advantage. Naz Long led a balanced attack for Hoiberg's club, netting 13 points, while Monte' Morris had 12, and Dustin Hogue and Matt Thomas 10 apiece.

During ISU's current win streak, the team is shooting 53.6 from the field and is averaging 21.2 assists per game. The Cyclones boast five double-digit scorers on the season led by Georges Niang with 16.9 ppg and Bryce Dejean- Jones with 16.0 ppg. Iowa State is averaging a gaudy 84.6 ppg while yielding 68.5 ppg, and the squad leads the Big 12 and ranks 16th nationally in free throw percentage (.754). The team is hitting better than 50 percent of its field goal attempts, while also regularly winning the rebounding (+3.6) and turnover (+3.1) battles.

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