Cyclones ramp up defense in lopsided win
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Deonte Burton launched soft, feathery jumpers from the perimeter and was just as effective muscling his way to the basket when he found that more to his and No. 21 Iowa State’s advantage.
The Cyclones’ burly 6-foot-5 forward is tough to defend wherever he is on the court. Just ask the Miami Hurricanes.
“We don’t have anybody as big and strong as he is. He’s 250. Most of our guys are like 200, 220,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said after Burton scored 21 points and Iowa State used a 17-2 second-half run to pull away to a 73-56 victory in the AdvoCare Invitational at Disney World on Friday.
Burton, the 2016 Big 12 newcomer of the year, made eight of 16, including both of his 3-pointers, to bounce back from what he felt was a subpar performance in the Cyclones’ tournament-opening victory over Indiana State. He also finished with a team-leading seven rebounds.
“I had a good game because of my teammates. Yesterday I didn’t play too well, but they stuck by me,” Burton said. “They told me I would do better. They instilled belief in me, and it showed.”
Iowa State (5-0) advanced to Sunday’s championship game, also playing much better than Thursday , when the Cyclones shot 34.2 percent against Indiana State — their lowest field-goal percentage in a win since 2007.
Matt Thomas had 12 points and Nazareth Mitrou-Long added 10 for the Cyclones.
“I’m really proud of our guys, the resiliency and leadership, the character of our seniors,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “(Thursday) was a tough game. I read a lot, you hear what everybody says. I like when people doubt us. It’s good. It keeps you more focused. It keeps you humble. But the thing that I was most proud of was the thing people question about us, our toughness and our defense. I think that won the game for us today.”
Darrell Bowie hit an awkward layup as he tumbled to the floor and also hit a short jumper during a 17-2 run the Cyclones put together over an 8-minute stretch of the second half.
“I thought Iowa State was very sharp. If you look at their stats from (Thursday), they didn’t make a free throw. Today, they didn’t miss, so every day is a little different,” Larranaga said. “Today, we just couldn’t make a shot. Some of it had to do with their defense, but we were uncharacteristically in a hurry. We had 19 turnovers. We don’t normally do that, and a lot of the turnovers were unforced.”
Ja’Quan Newton led Miami with 21 points. Backcourt mate Davon Reed added 13 for the Hurricanes, who shot 36 percent from the field, including going just 2 of 16 on 3-point attempts.
Burton hit a jumper, Donovan Jackson buried a 3-pointer and Monte Morris hit two free throws to finish the surge that broke the game open. Morris finished with six points — well below his team-leading average of 19 for Iowa State — but it didn’t matter.
The Cyclones built a 35-29 lead without getting any points out of their star, who finished 2 for 8 from the field.
Coaches use early season tournaments to prepare for conference play. Iowa State passed its first real test of the season, beating a team on the verge of cracking the Top 25 after shooting poorly in Thursday’s opening round victory over Indiana State. Despite the loss, Miami figures to benefit from having faced Stanford and Iowa State before heading home for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Iowa State is 8-1 in holiday tournaments over the past four seasons. The Cyclones won the Emerald Coast Classic last season, finished second in the 2014 CBE Hall of Fame Classic and first in the 2013 Diamond Head Classic.
Iowa State would bolster an argument for a higher ranking by winning Sunday’s final. Miami beat Stanford in the opening round but likely won’t move into the Top 25, regardless of what it does in the third-place game.
Iowa State faces another tough challenge against No. 11 Gonzaga or Florida for the championship.
Miami plays the loser of the Gonzaga-Florida semifinal for third place.