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Cyclones find compatible lineup in clubbing of Campbell

November 19, 2012
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (sports@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

AMES - Iowa State looks like a much better men's basketball team with senior Chris Babb in the starting lineup.

The Cyclones also appear to be much stronger with fellow senior Tyrus McGee coming off the bench.

McGee scored a team-high 16 points in a reserve role, Babb had 13 in his season debut following a suspension and Iowa State beat Campbell 88-68 on Sunday night.

Will Clyburn had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Cyclones (3-0), who registered assists on 22 of 32 baskets.

Iowa State broke open a tight game with a 14-0 run late in the first half keyed by McGee - who gave up his starting spot to Babb - and held a relatively comfortable lead the rest of the way.

Darren White had 20 points for Campbell (2-2), which is picked to win its division of the Big South this season.

"I'm an energy guy. I'm going to come off (the bench) and give that big spark," McGee said. "That's what I do. I do in practice. I do it in games."

Until Sunday, McGee was doing it as part of the starting five.

Babb blossomed into an elite defender in 2011-12 and averaged 7.8 points a game despite an extended shooting slump. But he missed the first two games after violating team rules in the offseason.

Babb's return gave coach Fred Hoiberg a chance to try out the rotation he'll likely go with moving forward.

Babb got the start, and a nice ovation, at shooting guard. He broke through with a putback just 90 seconds in and followed with open 3-pointer from the elbow.

"It just makes us so much more versatile. Chris is our best defender," Hoiberg said. "He spent time guarding anywhere from (point guard) to (power forward). That's a great thing when you have a guy like that. Plus he gives you another 3-point perimeter threat."

On the surface, McGee is the odd man out since he lost his starting spot to Babb. But McGee has always been best suited in a role as a spark off the bench, and he buoyed the Cyclones in the first half with 13 points.

McGee, who also had five rebounds, two steals and two blocks, hit a jumper, a 3 and a dunk in succession as the Cyclones jumped in front 33-20.

Babb chipped in with a 3 early in the second half that gave Iowa State its biggest lead to that point, 42-28.

Babb then drove hard to the rim after Campbell cut the lead to 10, converting a three-point play to put the Cyclones back on top 61-48.

"I just wanted to really bring a lot of energy," said Babb, who also had five rebounds and five assists without a turnover. "Something coach (Hoiberg) and I talked about was just being more consistent and bringing a lot more to the table. I'm not really just counting on my 3-point shot as much."

Point guard Korie Lucious had another poor shooting night, with just a pair of buckets on nine tries. But Lucious directed Iowa State's balanced offense with nine of its 22 assists, and he turned it over just once.

"I was really happy with Korie's game," Hoiberg said. "I loved his decision making."

The Cyclones didn't roll quite as well as they did in destroying overmatched Alabama A&M 98-40 a week ago. But the Fighting Camels figure to be among the better low majors in the country - and last season, they pounded Iowa in Iowa City 77-61.

"I think it shows we have a lot of talent," Babb said. "We can score, obviously. We can get out in transition. I think we can be a pretty good defensive team at times. We showed that. We've just got to clean it up a little bit."

 
 

 

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