Provo, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - The newly ranked Iowa State Cyclones will take to the road for the first time this season as they visit the BYU Cougars for a non-conference bout at the Marriott Center.
The Cyclones put an exclamation mark on the end of their season-opening homestand on Sunday when they topped then No. 7 Michigan, 77-70, at Hilton Coliseum. With the victory, which was the third straight for Iowa State, the Cyclones moved to No. 21 in the most recent Top 25. Now the Cyclones get set for their first road test of the year. Last season Iowa State was just 4-7 away from home.
BYU may not be in the national rankings but the Cougars are enjoying a strong start to the season as well. The Cougars took down Colorado Mesa (84-60) in their last outing to move to 4-0. BYU also topped Weber State (81-72), Stanford (112-103) and Mount St. Mary's (108-76) with each of those games coming at home.
In five all-time meetings between these squads, Iowa State has been victorious each time, including an 83-62 triumph in Ames last year.
Melvin Ejim made his return to the Iowa State lineup against Michigan and did so in a big way. The Cyclones' star forward came off the bench to score 22 points and secure nine rebounds in the victory. The Cyclones benefited from an advantage from the free-throw line in the game as they outscored the Wolverines, 13-4 from the charity stripe.
Getting Ejim back adds more fuel to the offensive fire for the Cyclones, who have been on a tear at both ends of the floor to start the year. After Sunday's win the Cyclones are scoring 84 points per game on 50.8 percent shooting, while ranking 18th in the nation in assists (18.3 pg). On the defensive end the Cyclones are allowing just 60.7 points per game on 33.7 percent shooting. There were already four players averaging in double figures for the Cyclones before Ejim's return. The lead scorer has been Naz Long (15.7 ppg), who is shooting just a shade under 70 percent from the floor. DeAndre Kane (13.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg), Dustin Hogue (1.78 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Georges Niang (12.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) have held down the fort in the paint in Ejim's absence.
Even though they only shot at a 41.9 percent rate, including just a single 3- pointer on 21 attempts, the Cougars were still easily able to get past Colorado Mesa. BYU made up for its offensive struggles by forcing 20 turnovers, while owning a huge rebounding edge (43-21).
The difficulty the Cougars had on offense was a rarity. On the year the Cougars are 12th in the nation in scoring (96.3 ppg), ranking in the top 20 in the country in assists (20.3 pg) and rebounds (45.3 pg). BYU also nets better than 50 percent of its field goal attempts, while holding foes to under 40. Some of the offensive issues can be blamed on the absence of Tyler Haws (29.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg), who was off to an incredible start before missing the last two games with an abdominal strain. He is still listed as questionable for this contest. The Cougars are still skilled with Matt Carlino (19.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Kyle Collinsworth (13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 6.2 apg), Eric Mike (12.5 ppg) and Nate Austin (5.8 pg, 9.2 rpg) all filling up the stat sheet.