IOWA CITY, Iowa – The one-game suspension for star Bryce Dejean-Jones was handed out just a day before Iowa State’s biggest game so far.
The Cyclones responded to their first dose of adversity with their best win of the season.
Naz Long scored a season-high 21 points and 14th-ranked Iowa State pounded Iowa 90-75 on the road Friday night without Dejean-Jones.
Reserve Abdel Nader scored 19 points and Georges Niang had 16 with seven assists for the Cyclones (7-1), who opened the second half on a 21-2 run to pull away from the rival Hawkeyes.
“This defined us. It showed character. You know, all the guys in there before the game were saying ‘Let’s do this for Bryce,’” Long said.
Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg suspended Dejean-Jones, the team’s second-leading scorer at 17.1 points per game, after he was arrested Thursday on a marijuana charge and noise violations. The pot charge was quickly dismissed by a judge, but the noise charges are pending.
Aaron White had 18 points for Iowa (8-3). The Hawkeyes finished 1-3 against Power 5 nonconference opponents – and they still have to play No. 23 Northern Iowa next week on a neutral floor.
“We were trying to go inside,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We missed a couple of opportunities and we turned it over a couple times trying to feed the post. Then we were tentative throwing to the post.”
Iowa State pushed a two-point lead to 64-39 early in the second half, turning what had been a tight game into a rout. The Cyclones shot 12 of 27 from 3-point range, with Long and Nader combining for nine of those 3s.
The efforts of Long, Nader and their teammates made it hard to tell that the Cyclones were missing one of their best players.
The teams went back and forth in an entertaining and tight first half. But Matt Thomas made a transition 3 at the first-half buzzer, giving the Cyclones a 38-33 lead.
Niang opened the second half with his first 3. His dunk made it 45-35 and forced McCaffery to call timeout in an effort to keep things from getting worse for the Hawkeyes.
It didn’t work.
Iowa turned it over on four straight possessions, and 3s from Long and Nader put Iowa State ahead 59-35.
“We felt we had talented guys to step in there. They just went out and fought for each other,” Hoiberg said.
The Hawkeyes went nearly 9 minutes between field goals. By the time they finally hit a basket, the game was out of hand.
Peter Jok had 14 points for Iowa.
Star of the game: Naz Long, Iowa St.,