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Youth lead Hawks through ISU

Underclassmen come up big for Iowa, win 80-71

December 8, 2012
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (sports@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

IOWA CITY - For years, Iowa State got the better of rival Iowa in part because the Cyclones had more experience.

The Hawkeyes flipped that all around behind three kids who were in high school the last time the Hawkeyes beat Iowa State.

Sophomore Aaron White had 18 points to lead Iowa past rival Iowa State 80-71 on Friday night, snapping a three-game losing streak against the Cyclones.

Freshman point guard Anthony Clemmons added a season-high 14 points and eight assists, and freshman Mike Gesell had nine of his 11 points in the second half for the Hawkeyes (8-2), who also beat Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg for the first time in three tries.

"Clemmons was spectacular. He's got an amazing ability to remain in control, think the game, know what we want," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "I was particularly proud of Mike Gesell."

Iowa blew a 10-point lead in the first half. But the Hawkeyes took control with an 8-0 run to start the second half and led the rest of the way.

Iowa improved to 7-0 at home this season, while the Cyclones (6-3) lost for the third time in five games.

Korie Lucious and Percy Gibson each scored 14 points for Iowa State. Will Clyburn, the leading scorer for the Cyclones this season, was held scoreless.

"We just didn't play smart basketball coming out of the gate," Hoiberg said.

After three years of futility at the hands of the Cyclones, the Hawkeyes and a near-sellout crowd really wanted this one.

They proved it with a stellar second half.

Iowa began the final half with eight quick points to retake the lead, and Josh Oglesby's 3 from the corner put them ahead 60-51 with 10:18 left. Iowa State had a chance to get within five with just over 8 minutes left, but Lucious bricked a 3 and White took it back for a one-handed flush and a 67-57 lead.

The Cyclones kept it close, but the ever-improving Clemmons followed a jumper with a 3 to keep them at bay.

Clyburn missed all five of his shots from the field and grabbed just three rebounds in by far his worst game yet for Iowa State. Lucious also had seven assists but seven turnovers, while Clemmons turned it over just once.

Clemmons has 16 assists and just one turnover in his last two games after replacing Gesell at point guard.

"He doesn't care who Korie Lucious is. He respects Korie Lucious. But at the end of the day he's just another opponent, and we had to take him out," Iowa's Devyn Marble said of Clemmons.

Iowa started three freshmen and came out with the energy to prove it.

The Hawkeyes forced turnovers on Iowa State's first three possessions in rolling out to a 14-5 lead. White kept the crowd on its toes with a pair of soaring alley-oop dunks, and his energy was crucial for the young Hawkeyes.

White also had a team-high seven rebounds, three assists and a steal.

"He does a lot of things to help your team win. He can rebound. He steals it, he deflects. He drives the ball to the basket," McCaffery said of White. "He seems to know when we need him to do something special, and he's always been able to do that."

Freshman Georges Niang kept the Cyclones from getting blown out, scoring all of his 13 points in the first half. And even though the Cyclones looked as though they couldn't get out of their own way at times - committing 12 turnovers in the first half - hot shooting allowed them to crawl ahead 32-31 late in the first half.

Iowa State was bailed out by its bench early, as the reserves scored 27 of its first 36 points, and Iowa's continued struggles from 3-point range.

Iowa shot just 5-of-20 from 3-point range but was much better inside the paint.

"The last five-minute stretch of the first half was about the only good stretch we had," Hoiberg said. 'I'm surprised we only lost by nine. It should have been more than that."

The Hawkeyes are confident they've got a good shot at ending their seven-year NCAA tournament drought.

The Cyclones are equally optimistic about returning to the NCAAs after snapping their own seven-season skid in 2012.

But until Friday, neither had a truly impressive win to put on their postseason resume.

Iowa State knocked off a national name in BYU - which is currently a pedestrian 5-3 - while losing to the two ranked teams on its schedule, Cincinnati and UNLV.

Iowa's two losses were to the only two teams that compete with the Hawkeyes, Wichita State and Virginia Tech. The Hawkeyes entered Friday night with one of the worst strengths of schedule ratings in the country.

Their first win over the Cyclones since 2008 will certainly boost Iowa's stock.

"We want to come out and make a statement," White said. "We might be young, but we're here for a long season and we're going to give every team that comes in here a battle."

 
 

 

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