Nov 11, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long (15) drives past Savannah State Tigers guard Kamil Williams (50) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Tigers 113-71. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Monday night’s game at Hilton Coliseum will be a family affair of sorts when Mount St. Mary’s visits Hilton Coliseum for a 7 p.m. tip on Cyclones.tv. Here are four points on what you need to know before the Mountaineers roll into Ames.
1 – 139 words about Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball
The Mountaineers opened the season with an 87-59 loss to the uh… Mountaineers. The victorious West Virginia Mountaineers forced 21 turnovers and held the other Mountaineers to 35.2 percent shooting from the field.
Jamion Christian’s squad was led by 6-foot-4-inch junior guard Greg Alexander with 15 points, including four 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Elijah Long (more on him in a minute) scored 14 points and snagged five rebounds.
The Mount — yes, they’re commonly referred to as “The Mount” — finished 14-19 last season while finishing fifth in the Northeast Conference. Their non-conference schedule also includes tilts against Minnesota, Michigan and Arkansas.
The program is 1-26 all-time against ranked opponents, the only win coming against No. 21 Georgia Tech in 1995. This will be the first game between Iowa State and “The Mount.”
2 – Mitrou-Long family reunion
Monday’s game was scheduled in part for Iowa State senior guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long to get a chance to play against his brother, Elijah. Long, a 6-foot sophomore guard, averaged 5.6 points per game in his first season at “The Mount.”
He is the first player from Canada to play for the Mountaineers. The game will be a family reunion of sorts as the two will have around 20 friends and family members in the stands.
“When it was a done deal, Coach Micah (Byars) approached me and told me we were going to be playing them,” Mitrou-Long said. “It’s truly just a dream come true, man. A lot of people have younger siblings where you’re close in age and so forth, but he’s a good four years off of me. When he was like 5-foot-2, I was like 5-10, 6-foot playing competitively never thinking that I’d ever play him. To be able to play him on Monday is truly going to be a dream come true. I’m going to have a bunch of family in there. But, with that being said, when the ball gets tipped off, I don’t know who he is. That’s the attitude he’s going to have, as well, but it is truly a dream come true.”
Mitrou-Long scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Cyclones’ win over Savannah State on Friday. The game was his return to Hilton Coliseum after sitting out most of last season while recovering from double hip surgery.
Who knows how much the two brothers will guard each other, but Mitrou-Long made the scouting report on his brother pretty simple.
“We’re going to put a bunch of guys on him,” Mitrou-Long said. “We want to wear him out. When he gets to the lane, beat his shot into the seventh row. We want to do everything we can to make his gas run out and everybody else on their team. We’re going to approach it as if we’re playing Kansas, we’re playing Oklahoma, it’s a serious game, but it’s not personal. It’s not about me, it’s about us getting that win and moving forward and learning from that game.”
3 – Change of pace
“The Mount” will bring an exponentially different style of play into Hilton Coliseum on Monday compared to Savannah State. Mount St. Mary’s ranked 142nd nationally in adjusted tempo last season, according to KenPom.
The Mountaineers took 54 shots from the field, including 24 3-pointers, in their season-opening loss to West Virginia. They’ll likely play a much less reckless style of basketball compared to the Tigers, who attempted 76 shots, 48 of them from behind-the-arc, against Iowa State.
4 – Monte’s historic opener
According to the Iowa State game notes, Monte Morris became just the ninth Division I men’s basketball player to score 21 points and dish out 11 assists with zero turnovers in a game since 2010-11. The Cyclones’ senior floor general from Flint, Mich. accounted for 46 of Iowa State’s 113 points (40.7 percent) in the game.
“I think all great teams have great point guard play,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said after the game. “Great guard play, obviously, but great point guard play. I looked at the stat at the end, those stat sheets they flow through your bench, and I don’t really look at them a ton, maybe if you’re losing you peek at them a little bit more, but I looked at the last one at the last media and I saw 11 assists, zero turnovers. I was like, ‘Man, that kid is something, man.’ It just always happens.”