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Jan. 2, 2008
AMES, IOWA - Iowa State gained control of the game early on and withstood a USC Upstate run to take a 72-48 victory Wednesday night in Hilton Coliseum.
The game ends Upstate's 14-game non-conference schedule that saw the Spartans travel more than 10,000 miles away from Spartanburg and play just two home games. Upstate is 2-12 on the year, while Iowa State improved to 9-5 with the win tonight. The Spartans entered the game playing the 18th hardest schedule in the country, according to Jeff Sagarin in his daily strength of schedule ratings.
"We've had a rough road trip and we're hoping to get back home without any problems," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne about the team's troubled road trip to Pittsburgh and Iowa. The team spent 18 hours in the Pittsburgh and Chicago airports Tuesday, dealing with cancelled and delayed flights. "This game was probably the worst game we have played against a team of this level of competition. It comes on the heels of a 20-hour travel day yesterday and that may have played a part tonight. But, it was disappointing. One positive that we took out of the game tonight was the improved defensive play against the post with Mezie (Uzochukwu) and Bobby (Davis)."
Gabor Boros opened the game with a three-pointer to give Upstate a 3-0 lead. Iowa State countered with 11 straight points, using two Spartan turnovers and four Upstate missed shots in the run to open an 11-3 lead.
The Spartans opened the game cold from the floor. After Boros nailed his three-pointer to open the game, Upstate missed its next 10 shots. Iowa State used the cold shooting to build a 15-5 lead. Mezie Uzochukwu's bucket and Jeremy Byrd's steal and layup cut the Cyclone lead to 15-9 with 12:36 to play.
Iowa State countered with 12 straight points to open an 18-point lead, 27-9, with 8:53 to play in the half. Upstate did not break into double figures until the 5:42 mark when Luke Payne nailed a three-pointer. By that time, though, the Cyclones owned a 27-9 lead and were firmly in control. The lead grew to 20 points at 32-12 with 4:52 to play.
With Iowa State seemingly in total control of the game, Upstate made a late run before halftime. The Spartans rattled off nine straight points over the final 3:32 and held the Cyclones scoreless over the final 4:51 to cut the Iowa State lead to 11, 32-21, at the half.
Upstate rebounded from a 3-for-16 shooting slump to open the game, making five of their last eight shots to cut into the Iowa State lead. Still, the Spartans shot just 33 percent from the floor. Iowa State, on the other hand, was strong from the field. The Cyclones connected on 58 percent of their shots.
Upstate extended its run into the second half, scoring the first four points to extend its run to 13 points and cutting the Iowa State lead to seven 32-25, with 19:17 to play in the game. The lead remained seven points until Bryan Petersen's three-pointer put the Cyclone lead back to double digits at 38-28. Petersen nailed a three-pointer to give Iowa State a 41-28 lead with 16:31 to play.
Petersen's two three-pointers began a spurt that saw Iowa State outscore Upstate 12-3 to build a 47-31 lead. The spurt put control of the game back in the hands of the Cyclones. Iowa State increased the lead to 21 points on Hubalek's bucket with 8:19 to play and the Cyclones took their biggest lead of the game at 27 with 2:27 to play in the game.
Hubalek led the way for Iowa State, finishing with 13 points and five rebounds. Wesley Johnson added 12 points, while Craig Brackins finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. The Cyclones shot 56.9 percent from the field for the game.
Uzochukwu led Upstate with 10 points and four rebounds. Davis added eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Payne and Jeremy Byrd each scored seven. Upstate shot 37.5 percent from the field for the game.
Upstate opens Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday afternoon at 4:00 at East Tennessee State in Johnson City, Tenn.