DES MOINES, Iowa — Most teams that fall behind by 18 points to a team as methodical as Northern Iowa are doomed to defeat.
Not Iowa State. The 17th-ranked Cyclones needed just seven minutes to rally from a 49-31 deficit against the Panthers on Saturday.
Northern Iowa overcame Iowa State’s 23-2 run and forced overtime, but the Cyclones scored 20 points in the extra five minutes and won going away, 91-82, on a neutral floor in Des Moines.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who was in the same gym waiting to play Drake later that night, couldn’t help but take notice of Iowa State’s explosiveness with a road game against the Cyclones (7-0) set for Friday.
“Any time a team comes back, you say, ‘Wow. That was impressive.’ To me it was the way they did it. When you’re down 18 with less than 16 to go, that is often panic time. They didn’t panic at all,” McCaffery said. They shared the ball. They defended. They got one stop, one bucket at a time.”
If there’s any team in the country that can get buckets when they need them, it’s the Cyclones.
Iowa State entered Tuesday ranked third in the nation in scoring at 91.7 points a game. The Cyclones are shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from 3-point range and are averaging over 10 3s a game.
Iowa State is also second nationally in assists per game at 19.9 and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76), which isn’t terribly surprising given the addition of senior point guard DeAndre Kane and his 15.4 points, 8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.
But the biggest revelation among coach Fred Hoiberg’s new crop of transfers is forward Dustin Hogue.
Hogue has far surpassed expectations coming out of Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. He’s shooting 59.3 percent, tops among Cyclones regulars, and has 10.4 rebounds a game.