No. 17 Iowa State (11-2) earned a hard-fought conference victory over Oklahoma State (11-3) on Tuesday, beating the Cowboys, 63-61, in Ames, Iowa.
Senior forward Dustin Hogue led the way for the Cyclones, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including three-of-four from three-point range. He also had eight rebounds and one assist.
“My teammates find me a lot on the court, and they get me a lot of open looks,” Hogue said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They told me to keep attacking the floor, so when I attack the basket, a lot of good things happen for me, too.”
The player most adept at finding Hogue is senior guard Monte Morris, who finished with eight points and a game-high six assists.
“The team just runs differently when Monte has the ball in his hands,” Hogue said. “He’s going to find you, (even if) it’s just like a little slither of hope. But if you’re in the corner wide open, you’re always confident Monte’s going to find you wherever you are on the court. When you have a point guard like that – that’s going to find you no matter where you are and give you good looks and not turn the ball over – you’re going to have a good team.”
It’s not just Morris, either. In fact, Iowa State leads the country with 18.7 assists per game. The Cyclones also rank in the top 20 in scoring offense (80.9 points per game) and field-goal percentage (.489).
Hogue was one of just two starters to finish in double figures against Oklahoma State – the other was forward Georges Niang (10 points) – but Matt Thomas had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench. He also drilled two clutch three-pointers.
“We call him Matty Ice,” Hogue said. “He’s the Ice Man. We’re always confident that every shot he takes is going in. He came in today and when we desperately needed a bucket, he came in and hit a three for us. Matt has been there all season for us, and he was definitely big for us today, too.”
On a lighter note, has anyone seen Fred Hoiberg’s dance moves? The Iowa State coach was break dancing – and getting down in general – in a new commercial for charity.
“That is pretty crazy,” Hogue said. “I (saw) that actually last night and I was shocked. I didn’t know he had moves like that. I wanted him to do it again, but he doesn’t want to break it out for us no more.”
Still, Hogue said it’s been great playing for Hoiberg, a former NBA player and Iowa State standout.
“He’s really cool,” Hogue said. “I’ve always had a lot of coaches that are loud and might scream at you, but Coach Hoiberg has this calm presence to him that lets us players just be confident on the court and not panic. If you have a coach that’s calm when adversity hits, then the players are going to react the same too.”
The Cyclones will need that mentality over the next week or so, as they play a ranked team in each of their next three games: at No. 14 West Virginia (14-1) on Jan. 10, at No. 21 Baylor (11-2) on Jan. 14 and against No. 12 Kansas (11-2) on Jan. 17.