Niang paces Cyclones over Zips
Honolulu, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Georges Niang poured in 22 points to lead No. 14 Iowa State over the Akron Zips, 83-60, in the semifinal round of the annual Diamond Head Classic.
The Cyclones (10-0) matched their best start in school history dating back to the 1996-97 season. They will meet Boise State in the championship game on Christmas day.
Melvin Ejim registered his 25th career double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Dustin Hogue scored 18 for the Cyclones.
Reggie McAdams paced Akron (6-3) with 13 points and Quincy Diggs scored 12 off the bench for the Zips, who had a five-game win streak snapped.
Iowa State jumped out to a 13-10 lead, but the Zips went on to score 13 of the next 15 points to grab an eight-point advantage. The Cyclones battled back with a run of their own, which was capped off by a Matt Thomas 3-pointer with 2:55 left for a 32-26 Iowa State lead. Niang nailed a 3-pointer to end the half and the Cyclones took a 37-31 lead into the break.
The Zips got within one early in the second half, but that's as close as they would come. Iowa State started getting to the basket for some easy buckets and was too much for Akron to handle. A 13-2 run expanded the difference to 55-43 with 12:45 left following a Naz Long layup.
The Cyclones remained ahead by double digits the remainder of the way.
Akron will play South Carolina on Wednesday.
This was the first meeting between the Zips and the Cyclones ... Ejim made his 100th career start as a Cyclone ... It was Niang's fourth-consecutive game with at least 20 points ... Iowa State shot 47.4 percent (9-for-19) from beyond-the-arc.
12/23 23:28:00 ET