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Iowa State men rout A&M 74-50


This news story was published on January 8, 2012.
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Richard Croome, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas –

Iowa State’s Royce White made the Texas AandM Aggies look like they had called in sick Saturday afternoon.

Really, it should have been the other way, with White, who had the flu all week, throwing up after leaving the court at Reed Arena a 74-50 winner.

While on the court, White dominated play with the first triple-double in a Big 12 game since the Cyclones’ Curtis Stinson in 2006.

The 6-foot-8, 270-pound White finished with 10 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.

“He had two points at halftime and was player of the game in the first half,” said Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg. “You could see it in his eyes when he came out of the gate getting every rebound, swallowing every rebound, he was going up there so high.”

While White and his teammates were starting well the Aggies (9-5, 0-2 in Big 12) looked lost at the beginning of the game for the second straight Big 12 contest.

AandM missed 10 of its first 11 shots, and it took until the 12:30 mark for anyone other than point guard Dash Harris to score.

Unbelievably, the Aggies were in the game at that point, only down 11-7, but then the Cyclones (12-3, 2-0) made 7 of 9 shots, including four 3-pointers.

“Tonight they came out ready to play and we just didn’t,” said AandM guard Elston Turner. “There were spurts where we were. They definitely threw the first punch.”

ISU got in a few combinations after the first punch with Scott Christopherson, known for his jump shooting, driving into the paint for three straight baskets, the third giving the Cyclones a 36-16 lead.

It got worse as the Aggies suffered their biggest setback at home since a 78-51 loss to Texas on Jan. 12, 2001. It was the second largest margin in a loss for the Aggies at Reed Arena.

“We’ve got to get healthier and then compete more in practice,” said AandM coach Billy Kennedy. “We’ve got good kids and they are trying to do the right things. We just have to get more out of them in practice. I think sometimes these guys are trying to save themselves for the game and I don’t believe in doing that. We have to change that mentality.”

White, who leads Iowa State in scoring, rebounding and assists, had 11 rebounds and six assists in the first half.

“They got up and pressured me and made me make a play and I just took what they gave me and my teammates made a lot of big shots and a lot of big plays,” White said. “It’s fun, but I’m more proud of my teammates. It doesn’t happen without them and having a coach that has a lot of faith in you with the ball in your hands.”

The sophomore transfer from Minnesota, who because of his size looks nothing like the playmaker he is, finished with three more assists than the Aggies and had 14 defensive rebounds, two more than AandM’s starting front court.

“He’s such a unique player, a tough guy to prepare for, because of the things he does with the ball in his hands,” Hoiberg said. “He has the mentality of a point guard, has that vision, sees the floor so well, no-look passes and is a step ahead.”

Hoiberg, an NBA player for 10 seasons, compared White’s passing ability to a former teammate of his, perennial all-star Kevin Garnett.

“We needed to step up more on the defensive end on him,” said AandM forward Ray Turner, who came off the bench for a double-double, with 13 points and 12 rebounds. “For a big that size that can handle the ball, that’s pretty decent. That helps their offense and hurt us tonight.”

AandM shot less than 30 percent from the floor in the first half for the second consecutive game, and just like in the 61-52 loss to Baylor had no starter shoot better than 40 percent for the game.

The Aggies are also having trouble getting to the free-throw line for easy points, shooting only five against Iowa State after 13 against Baylor, while watching their opponents shoot 40 free throws.

“We’re a jump-shooting team, unfortunately,” Kennedy said. “We have a hard time beating anybody off the dribble and driving the ball. It’s something we’ve worked on. We’ve got to make jumpshots.”

Elston Turner had 11 points and Harris finished with 10.

Ray Turner was the player of the game, though, for the Aggies, making 5 of 11 shots and all three free throws on the way to his third double-double of the season.

“Physically, he was one of the only ones who could compete with those guys,” said Kennedy. “He went to offensive glass even though he missed shots at the basket he was active around the basket and we didn’t get that from anyone else.”

Iowa State had five players finish in double figures, paced by sixth-man Melvin Ejim with 15.

Christopherson finished with 13 and Chris Babb and Chris Allen had 11 and 10, respectively.

The Aggies trailed 43-23 at the half and after ISU scored six of the second half’s first eight points, never got closer than 17.

If the Aggies want to turn it around quickly, they will have to do it on the road against Texas, which lost 78-71 in Ames, Iowa, in the Big 12 opener.

“I think 1/8the players3/8 are pretty down and pretty surprised,” said Kennedy. “I wish I could tell you I was surprised. We’ve got to change this culture. We’ve got to do a better job coaching intensity, and they have to do a better job of bringing it.”

NOTES — Iowa State’s win was the first over AandM in nine games. ISU beat the Aggies in January 2004. The last time the Cyclones won at AandM was in January 2001, when they were ranked No. 17. … AandM’s David Loubeau picked up his 500th career rebound, becoming the 22nd Aggie to reach the milestone. He also is the 16th player to have both 500 rebounds and 1,000 points. … The road win was the first in the Big 12 for second-year coach Fred Hoiberg. … ISU’s Chris Allen eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with his second 3-pointer of the first half. … It was the Aggies’ first Big 12 home-opening loss since 2006. .. The last player to have a triple-double against AandM was Grambling’s Maurice Searight (13 points, 11 rebounds 14 assists) in double overtime game in 2003.

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