Cyclone men win Tip-Off title
NEW YORK — Gabe Kalscheur scored 30 points and led Iowa State to a 78-59 win over No. 9 Memphis in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game on Friday night.
Kalscheur was named MVP of the tournament. Tristan and Aljaz Kunc each scored 11 points for the Cyclones (6-0), who led by five points at halftime and increased their advantage to as much as 25 in the second half.
Highly-touted freshman Emoni Bates led Memphis (5-1) with 12 points and Landers Nolley II scored 11. Head coach Penny Hardaway’s Tigers entered as an 11 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
But the Cyclones were not fazed by their more celebrated opponent.
Much like they did in their win over No. 25 Xavier Wednesday, the Cyclones generated their offense in the paint. Iowa State outscored Memphis 22-16 over the first ten minutes of the second half to begin to pull away, with 10 of the Cyclones’ points coming on layups and Izaiah Brockington’s two-handed alley-oop jam.
ISU head coach T.J. Otzelberger is in his first year with a program that went 2-22 in 2020-21. His rebuild has focused on defense and rebounding. Entering Friday night, the Cyclones were limiting opponents to 39.3% shooting from the field, including 23.9% from 3-point range, and have averaged 2.6 more rebounds than their opponents. Iowa State outrebounded Memphis 42-34 and limited the Tigers to 35.8% shooting.
Memphis: The Tigers entered the season with the best recruiting class in the country, including celebrated freshman Jalen Duren. But Hardaway warned after Wednesday’s win over Virginia Tech that his team is still learning how to play cohesively. That proved true on Friday as Memphis committed 22 turnovers.
Iowa State: Hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday.
Memphis: At Georgia on Wednesday.