Iowa State easily dispatches Notre Dame
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
DAYTON, Ohio – It’s a shame that one missed Melvin Ejim dunk was the lasting image of Iowa State’s win over Notre Dame last Friday night – or at least the part of the game that went viral.
The GIF made its rounds on Twitter and the blogosphere; Ejim, on a breakaway, tried to slam the ball home and the ball hit the front of the rim and caromed off. It happened early in the first half, way before the 10th-seeded Cyclones would eventually blow out No. 7 Notre Dame, 76-58, to advance to face No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament West region.
It’s too bad. What about one of the nine Iowa State 3-pointers? What about Will Clyburn’s lay-in at the buzzer at the end of the first half? Any part of the impressive offensive performance would be better, or at least more fitting.
It seemed everything clicked for the Cyclones – outside shooting and driving to the basket, both proved equally effective. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said Thursday he basically gives his guys a green light from three (they’ve made and taken the most threes in the nation), and it’s not hard to see why.
Iowa State shot 42.9% from beyond the arc, complementing its 49.2% shooting from the field. The Cyclones only turned the ball over seven times to Notre Dame’s 18.
For awhile late, it looked like Iowa State could surpass West Virginia’s 30-point win over Temple in 1998 for the largest margin of victory in a 10-7 upset. Even so, the Cyclones made the small-scale upset feel routine, almost methodical. They led from early in the second half on, building a 12-point lead by halftime and grooming and growing it in the second half.
Iowa State forward Georges Niang led all scorers with 19 points.
The 18-point margin was Notre Dame’s largest NCAA tournament loss since 1958.