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Friday, November 23, 6:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (19,522) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: ISU 4-0, Cincinnati 4-0. Away Record: ISU 0-0, Cincinnati 0-0. Neutral Record: ISU 0-0, Cincinnati 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 0-0, Cincinnati 0-0. Series Record: Cincinnati leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: A pair of undefeated squads will square off in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Friday night when the Iowa State Cyclones take on the 22nd-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats.
The winner will go on to play either Oregon or UNLV in the championship game, with the losers facing off for third place.
Iowa State won both of its early-round games in this tournament, knocking off North Carolina A&T (86-57) and Campbell (88-68) en route to the semifinal game. Add that to a pair of blowout wins to start the season over Southern (82-59) and Alabama A&M (98-40) and the Cyclones are now 4-0.
Cincinnati has also gotten out to a 4-0 to start the season, with each win coming at home. First the Bearcats took care of Tennesseee-Martin (80-57) and Mississippi Valley State (102-60) before entering the preliminary rounds of the tournament, where they continued to rack up easy wins over NC A&T (93-39) and Campbell (91-72).
Cincinnati has won two of the three all-time meetings between the squads, with the last two also coming at neutral sites.
Iowa State's first four games have been nothing short of dominant. It is shooting nearly 49.6 percent from the floor, while its opponents are making just 32.7 of their field goals, and its scoring margin (plus-32.5) shows that it hasn't broken a sweat yet. In the Cyclones' latest 29-point win over NC A&T, Tyrus McGee logged 25 minutes from off the bench and led the way with 16 points, hitting four of the team's 11 three-pointers in the process. Will Clyburn and Georges Niang added 14 points apiece, and Melvin Ejim just missed a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds. On the season, Clyburn puts up a team-best 15.0 ppg and he's tied with Ejim (11.0 ppg) as the top rebounder with 8.3 rpg. Niang (14.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and McGee (13.8 ppg) are consistent contributors to the balanced scoring attack, and Korie Lucious (7.0 ppg) takes advantage of all the weapons around him by dishing out 5.5 apg.
Amazingly enough, Cincinnati has actually been more impressive than the Cyclones, as it is shooting 51.3 percent from the field (including 42.2 percent from three-point range) while outscoring its opponents by an incredible plus-34.5 margin. The Bearcats made good on half their field goal attempts (32-of-64) in their latest win over Campbell, with Cashmere Wright doing the majority of the damage with 28 points on 8-of-14 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Wright also swiped five steals, and he's averaging 17.0 ppg in the early going. JaQuon Parker tallied 21 points and eight boards, while Sean Kilpatrick logged 15 points and 10 boards. Kilpatrick (19.5 ppg) and Parker (11.3 ppg) are the only other Bearcats to average double figures, but six others average between 5.0 and 7.3 rpg.
This will be the first big test for each squad and it will be interesting to see how each react to facing a well-matched foe. The Cyclones have plenty of scoring talent, but Cincinnati is deeper and has a better touch from three- point range, giving it the advantage to advance to the championship game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 80, Iowa State 71
11/23 10:50:10 ET
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