McGee leads Iowa St past North Carolina A&T 86-57

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 10:02 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012
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AMES, Iowa (AP) — There never was any doubt about Iowa State's offense. The Cyclones have plenty of players who can score.

What has pleased coach Fred Hoiberg is the effort they've shown on the defensive end.

Aggressive defense kept the Cyclones ahead during some early shooting woes, which they eventually shook off in an 86-57 romp past North Carolina A&T on Tuesday night.

"Defense has to be your constant. You have to go out there every single night and defend," Hoiberg said. "When you're hitting shots, it's going to be a beautiful thing. When you're not, it's going to keep you in the game. That's what we try to do every day, whether it's practice, whether it's in games."

Tyrus McGee scored 16 points and Will Clyburn and Georges Niang each added 14 to lead Iowa State (4-0), which put the Aggies away with a big run late in the first half. Percy Gibson scored nine points, while Melvin Ejim had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Jean Louisme's 11 points led North Carolina A&T (1-4), which shot only 16 percent (5-for-31) in the first half and 29.7 percent for the game. But that was an improvement from their 15 percent shooting in a 93-39 loss to No. 22 Cincinnati on Sunday.

"We learned we can really push ourselves on defense," said Niang, a freshman. "That's what kept us in the game. I feel if we can pick up our defense, we don't have to worry about our offense."

That offense sputtered at the start.

Iowa State missed its first 10 3-point shots and found itself leading the offensively challenged Aggies only 19-14 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the opening half. But McGee hit a pair of 3s, including a fadeaway in the right corner, and Ejim knocked down one from beyond the arc to spark a 16-0 run that hiked the Cyclones' lead to 35-14.

It became a 19-1 burst after Gibson answered an A&T free throw with a three-point play off a nice feed from Clyburn, and it never got any better for the Aggies after that.