Nov. 15, 2013
By Jenny Herstein, U-M Public & Media Relations
Michigan picked up its second win of the season on Tuesday night (Nov. 12) against South Carolina State, riding a hot-shooting start to a 93-59 victory. The Wolverines made 10 of their first 14 field goal attempts and shot a 51 percent field goal rate on the night.
Most impressive in Michigan's offensive arsenal was its three-point shooting. The Wolverines went 12-for-19 in the first half (63 percent) and scored 15 three-pointers total on the night -- just shy of the school record of 16.
Leading the team were sophomores Caris LeVert, who scored a career-high 24 points on 7-for-11 shooting, and Nik Stauskas, who scored 23, also a career high, while going a perfect 5-for-5 on three-pointers.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines outrebounded the Bulldogs 43-30, with Jon Horford grabbing a career- and team-high 15 rebounds.
With two comfortable home wins behind them, Michigan now faces its first game in a hostile environment and the first of a stretch of challenging non-conference matchups as the team heads to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off next week.
"The big thing is getting used to the fact that everybody's not yelling for you, they're yelling against you," said head coach John Beilein.
Beilein noted that the Wolverines will spend two practice sessions simulating the loud noises they will hear on the road.
"I might go home with my ears ringing when they're done," Beilein said, "but we have to get to the point where we are ready to play in that atmosphere."
The atmosphere in Ames, Iowa, promises to be charged, with tickets to Sunday night's game selling out less than 10 minutes after sales were opened. Iowa State can proudly boast a home-court advantage, having won 15 straight non-conference games at home. Their last loss to a non-conference team at Hilton Coliseum came against the University of Northern Iowa on Nov. 30, 2011.
The Cyclones, who were 23-12 overall last year (11-7 Big 12), made it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, where they were narrowly defeated by Ohio State at the buzzer.
This year's Iowa State team sees many changes from a season ago, with the departure of starters Will Clyburn, Korie Lucious and Chris Babb. Also gone from the roster is guard Tyrus McGee, who together with Lucious and Babb accounted for 229 of Iowa State's three-pointers last season.
Meanwhile, Iowa State senior forward, Melvin Ejim, sustained a hyperextended left knee and bone bruise during practice late in October. Ejim was named to the pre-season all-conference squad after averaging 10.3 points and leading the Big 12 in rebounds per game (9.3) and double-doubles (15).
"You can say that Sunday isn't ridiculous or no hope whatsoever," said Iowa State trainer Vic Miller of Ejim's return, "but it's not like it's a strong possibility."
The Cyclones enter Sunday's contest 2-0 on the season, with wins at home against UNC-Wilmington (95-62) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (80-50).
In 2012-13, sophomore forward Georges Niang started all 18 Big 12 conference games, averaging 12.5 points per contest. His best performances came in the postseason, when he scored 19 points against Kansas in the Big 12 tournament and again vs. Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament second round. He also posted 16 points against UNCW and 12 against TAMUCC.
"He reminds me of (former Michigan State forward) Dreymond Green a great deal," said Beilein. "He is a strong forward who can pass and shoot threes."
After averaging just 1.4 points per game in 2012-13, sophomore Naz Long paced the team against UNCW with 26 points on 9-for-11 shooting, including eight three-pointers.
Newcomers DeAndre Kane and Monte Morris also have emerged as key players for the Cyclones, averaging 14.5 rebounds between them. Kane, a 6-4 senior transfer from Marshall, was named to the All-Conference USA second team last season, averaging 15.1 points per game. He was one of only two players in all of Division I to average at least 14 points, four rebounds and seven assists. This season, Kane scored in double figures against both UNCW and TAMUCC, recording 13 and 15 points, respectively.
"They lost a lot of guys from last year, but all of a sudden you've got a fifth-year point guard who's a really good player, and it helps a lot," said Beilein.
Monte Morris enters as a freshman after being named Michigan's Mr. Basketball last season; Morris scored 11 points in the Cyclones' game.
The Cyclones are shooting 45.6 percent from behind the arc and posted more than 10 three-pointers in both games.
Sunday night's matchup will mark the 10th meeting between Michigan and Iowa State. Michigan leads the all-time series, 5-4, but Iowa State won three of the five matches played in Ames. The last meeting between the two teams was on Dec. 2, 2011, in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines won, 76-66.
Both the Wolverines and the Cyclones have rosters that have changed significantly from last season. Both teams lost their top scorers from last year, and both have had players sidelined due to injury (Ejim and Michigan forward Mitch McGary) that may or may not see the court. Yet, both teams also have a wide range of offensive weapons.
"(Michigan and Iowa State have) different plays, but very similar styles in many ways," said Beilein.