AMES - Iowa State forward Anthony Booker has already graduated but had simple advice for freshman teammate George Niang's first finals week, which begins Monday.
"I'd tell him to stay focused, study as much as possible. No pressure, you've been in class all semester," Booker said after Iowa State beat Nebraska-Omaha 93-65 on Sunday night.
Niang looked focused on the task at hand - his first career start, in place of Booker. The freshman attacked the rim and scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the first half.
Iowa State’s Will Clyburn (21) glides in around Nebraska-Omaha’s Marcus Ryus (23) in Sunday’s men’s basketball game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. Clyburn was one of six Cyclones to score in double figures in a 93-65 victory.
The Cyclones (7-3) opened an 18-2 lead seven minutes into the game, two days following a turnover-riddled 80-71 loss to rival Iowa. The Mavericks (2-9) provided brief periods of resistance Sunday, but finished with just one offensive rebound and 14 turnovers.
"I was happy the way the guys responded," said Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg. "They came out and they played the right way today. We took care of business and did what we were supposed to do."
Six Cyclones reached double figures and Iowa State committed just six turnovers after losing 19 possessions Friday night. But Niang's play stood out above the stats Sunday.
Using a variety of post moves, the freshman went 5 for 9 from the field, drawing fouls, dishing out four assists and getting six rebounds in just 20 minutes.
Sophomore center Percy Gibson replaced senior Melvin Ejim in the starting lineup for the Cyclones as well, but Hoiberg said it's "hard to say" whether either lineup change will be permanent.
Niang, singled out by Hoiberg as one of the lone highlights from Friday's loss, started in large part due to Booker's tendency to get in early foul trouble.
"I thought everybody responded well," Hoiberg said. "(Ejim) helped us with 13 rebounds in 18 minutes. George gave us great energy and got us good baskets early."
Niang - who came to Ames from Methuen, Mass. -said his aggressiveness early in the game came naturally.
"Any time you come off a loss you're trying to go after the next team you play," Niang said. "So I think that had something to do with it."
After falling way behind early, Omaha made six straight shots to close the gap to 22-18. But the Mavericks went just 4 for 22 in the rest of the half and Iowa State led 52-28 at the break.
For the game, The Cyclones out-rebounded Omaha, 45-24, and forced 14 turnovers. Iowa State's leading scorer, Will Clyburn, went scoreless Friday but had 11 points against the Mavericks.
Tyrus McGee and Booker also scored 11 points, while Chris Babb and Percy Gibson added 10 each for Iowa State.
Omaha was led by John Karhoff with 13 points and kept the game close by hitting six of its first eight 3-pointers. The Mavericks are in their second season after rejoining the Division I ranks. The Mavericks were in transition last season and are now members of the Summit League.
Iowa State set a school record with 76 second-half points in the teams' last meeting in 1991 - a 114-57 drubbing.