Conway, S.C., November 16, 2017 – There have been more than 120 games played under the Puerto Rico Tip-Off banner since the inaugural event was held in 2007, but none of them has ever produced the offensive output that was seen Thursday night between Iowa State and Appalachian State.
The Cyclones used a 51.6 percent shooting performance to outlast Appy State 104-98 in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Myrtle Beach. The 202 total points easily surpassed the previous record of 184 set two years ago when Miami defeated Mississippi State 105-79.
Donovan Jackson led the way for Iowa State (1-2) with a career-high 26 points, while Nick Babb-Weiler had 23. Meanwhile, both Ronshad Shabazz and Justin Forrest scored 32 points for the Mountaineers (2-1), tying the mark for the second-most points by a player in tournament history. In addition, Forrest set a tourney record for the most points in a half with 26 after intermission.
The conditions were ideal for this to be a high-scoring affair. Iowa State averaged only 57.5 points per game in opening the season 0-2, and ISU Steve Prohm said he emphasized to his team in the days leading up to the tournament the importance of playing at a faster tempo.
“When we run, we’re harder to defend,” Prohm said. “I don’t want us to walk it up and run a lot of sets. I want to move the basketball and play with a great pace.
“So what I was looking at tonight was, make or miss shots, are we pushing tempo? I thought we did that for the majority of the game, and that’s something we have to continue to preach for this team to max out.”
As for Appalachian State, Coach Jim Fox said he has no problem with his team relying heavily on 3-pointers. The Mountaineers (2-1) took an average of 33.5 treys in their first two games, and then jacked up 40 against ISU.
“We want to be on the attack. Our strength is being able to shoot the ball,” Fox said. “Our problem is when the ball stops and we try to go one-on-one with no swings of the ball. That’s just not who we are.
“We went through some spells tonight where we tried to play as people we are not, and that carries over to the defensive end. Our bad offense led to bad defense. That was the most disappointing thing about this game.”
The game was tight throughout the first half, with eight lead changes and four ties. Iowa State then used a 12-2 run early in the second half to build a 61-51 advantage, and the Cyclones led by as many as 18 down the stretch.
“It felt good picking up the pace,” Weiler-Babb said “We had been kind of walking it down, being a slow-paced team. We switched that up tonight.”