AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State’s previous game featured a one-point win over a state rival and a swarm of fans storming the court, which left a local columnist with a broken leg.
The Cyclones were more than happy to post an unimpressive but largely drama-free victory on Sunday.
Jameel McKay scored 18 points with eight rebounds, and No. 4 Iowa State defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 78-64 for its ninth straight win.
Matt Thomas had 17 points in his first start of the season for the Cyclones (9-0). They rested guard Naz Mitrou-Long, who is still working his way back from offseason surgery to repair both hips.
”We just weren’t very good,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. ”But we never devalue winning, man.”
The Golden Lions (2-8) hung around for about 35 minutes against an Iowa State team three days removed from an emotional 83-82 win over Iowa. But Monte Morris’ alley-oop to McKay gave the Cyclones a 70-54 lead with just more than 5 minutes left.
Ghiavonni Robinson scored 15 points for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which lost its third straight.
”We lacked energy for whatever reason,” McKay said. ”We’re just going to take this win and forget about it.”
This was Iowa State’s second-to-last game against a low-major opponent. Arkansas-Pine Bluff caused more problems for the Cyclones than most thought it could.
Iowa State was sloppy from the outset, turning the ball over seven times in the first 10 minutes. It didn’t take its first double-digit lead until late in the first half, when a pair of free throws by Abdel Nader put the Cyclones up 33-23.
The Golden Lions played at times as well as they have all season, and some defensive lapses kept Iowa State from making the kind of big run that would’ve put them away earlier. The Cyclones also committed 13 turnovers, but the game was never really in doubt.
”Obviously, we had a big win on Thursday night. But that’s no excuse. We paid no attention to detail,” Thomas said.
Morris, whose floater with 9 seconds left beat the Hawkeyes, had 12 points and 11 assists for his third double-double this season.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Golden Lions have been beaten by at least 14 points in each of their losses. … Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s first home game isn’t until Jan. 16 against Southern. … Arkansas-Pine Bluff hit just two free throws.
Iowa State: Mitrou-Long started the first eight games, averaging 12 points. Thomas started in place of Long. … Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register missed the game after breaking his leg when fans stormed the court following Thursday’s win over Iowa. Peterson told The Associated Press he hopes to cover Iowa State’s next game, Saturday in Des Moines against Northern Iowa.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
”His body is banged up. He’s not where he wants it to be physically right now, and we thought we could get through this game hopefully without him,” Prohm said about Long. ”We’d love to say he’s 100 percent healthy. He’s not, though.”
Georges Niang and Hallice Cooke each had 11 points for Iowa State. … The Cyclones shot 12 of 24 on 3-pointers but were outrebounded 36-29. … Iowa State had 23 assists on 27 made baskets.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff plays at Santa Clara on Tuesday.
Iowa State plays Northern Iowa in Des Moines on Saturday.
Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LukeMeredithAP