AMES – Iowa State finished its four-game homestand to start the season in the same way it had in the previous three contests.
With complete dominance.
The Cyclones had no trouble Sunday with Grambling State in a 92-37 victory at Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State improved to 4-0 with no games closer than 31 points ahead of what will almost certainly be a tougher task later this week at the ESPN Events Invitational. The Cyclones open Thursday against VCU, and then will face either Boise State or Virginia Tech. Penn State, Texas A&M, Butler and Florida Atlantic, a Final Four team a year ago, are on the other side of the bracket.
The Cyclones led the Tigers 32-4 just after the midway point of the first half and eventually would take an insurmountable 48-14 lead into halftime.
Tamin Lipsey led the way for the Cyclones with 17 points and nine assists. Omaha Biliew and Curtis Jones both had 14 points while Milan Momcilovic added 13 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Grambling State shot 28.6 percent from the floor while turning it over 21 times.
While Iowa State’s first four opponents were wholly overmatched, it was still an impressive showing for the Cyclones, who sport a vastly different roster than the one that reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
The Cyclones set out this offseason to improve their offense while not sacrificing the stifling defense that had been the calling card of their success in the first two years under coach T.J. Otzelberger. The early returns suggest Iowa State was able to do exactly that, though to what extent will need to be proven against better competition.
Still, even adjusting for degree of difficulty, Iowa State exceeded even the rosiest of projections through four games, setting up what will be a consequential tournament in Orlando as the Cyclones look to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume with wins that will likely resonate with the selection committee months from now.
Hason Ward suffers an injury
An otherwise breezy day, there was some bad news for Iowa State with the announcement that forward Hason Ward will miss extended time with a left foot injury.
The Cyclones said he is expected to be out through the non-conference season, which runs through December before Big 12 play begins in January.
The 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior started Iowa State’s first three games of the season, averaging 4.7 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.
Robert Jones, a 6-foot-10 senior, replaced Ward in the starting lineup against Grambling State.
A familiar face returns
Given the lopsided score, one of the more interesting aspects of Sunday’s contest was the return of former Cyclone Terrence Lewis.
The Milwaukee native played three seasons at Iowa State, 2017-20, accumulating 322 points over 71 games. He was a part of the 2018-19 Cyclones team that won the Big 12 tournament and appeared in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s been a long college basketball journey for Lewis, who initially committed to Steve Prohm’s Cyclones in August 2016.
He initially left Iowa State for South Alabama following the 2019-20 campaign, but never appeared in a game for the Jaguars. He transferred to Grambling State, sat out the 2021-22 campaign and played in just three games last season.
Lewis tallied six points, a rebound and an assist before fouling out in 20 minutes in his Hilton homecoming.
Travis Hines covers Iowa State University sports for the Des Moines Register and Ames Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com or (515) 284-8000. Follow him on X at @TravisHines21.