NCAA Basketball Big 12 BasketballIowa State Cyclones

Iowa State Overcome Bench Struggles To Win In-State Showdown

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa State Cyclones got a meager five points, two rebounds and three assists in a combined 18 minutes from their bench players tonight. Fortunately for Iowa State, the contributions of their starting five were enough to squeak by the University of Northern Iowa Panthers 91-82 in overtime.

Sophomore Georges Niang and senior Melvin Ejim led the Cyclones in scoring with 22 points a piece on combined 18-of-29 shooting from the field. Niang also contributed on the defensive side with four steals and three blocks. Junior Dustin Hogue led Iowa State in rebounds with 14, and also scored 17 points as he went 8-of-11 from the charity stripe.

Senior DeAndre Kane scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Finally, freshman Matt Thomas rounded out the starting five with seven points, two assists and four rebounds.

It was the defensive effort of the 17th-ranked team in the nation that overcame the poor bench production to still find to a win. The Cyclones held the Panthers to under 48 percent from the field and forced 17 UNI turnovers to make the 91 points stand up. Helping Iowa State was the Panthers’ poor free-throw shooting. As a team, UNI shot only 53 percent from the line, forfeiting a potential eight points that could have made the final score much closer.

The Panthers did get stellar play off the bench from junior Nate Buss and freshman Jeremy Morgan, who combined for 33 points and 14 rebounds. Unfortunately for UNI, their starting five were not as efficient as Iowa State’s.

Whether the Cyclones will continue to just be eight men deep will remain to be seen as the season goes on. Eventually, they will need more production out of Sherron Dorsey-Walker, Naz Long and Monte Morris to stay in the Big 12 title hunt. For tonight though, Iowa State was able to lean on its starters.

Derek Helling is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook and add him on Google+. Read more here