AMES – Welcome back, Chris Babb.
The Iowa State senior guard played his first minutes of the season Sunday against Campbell, notching 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in an 88-68 triumph before 11,352 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
“That’s something coach (Fred Hoiberg) and I talked about,” said Babb, who had served a three-game suspension for violating team rules. ”Being more consistent and bringing a lot more to the table. I’m not really just counting on my 3-point shot as much. I’m looking to attack more, get in the paint, create more options for other guys.”
He wasn’t alone.
At one point, the Cyclones (3-0) boasted 19 assists for 24 field goals.
They finished with only 10 baskets that went unassisted.
“When we get out in transition, guys are making great decisions,” Babb said. “We get up the wing, making that baseline drive or middle drive and kicking it. We get into the post, kick it back out; get an offensive rebound, kick it back out. Move it around. We just always make the extra pass.”
Tyrus McGee — who started in place of Babb until Sunday — scored a team-high 16 points off the bench, including a 4-of-7 effort from 3-point range.
The senior catalyst stoked a 14-0 first-half run with two 3-pointers and a dunk that helped ISU forge a 33-20 lead.
But the Fighting Camels (1-2) answered with an 8-0 splurge that McGee deflated with a 3-pointer 57 seconds before halftime.
“It doesn’t bother me not starting,” McGee said. “I’m an energy guy. I come off as that big spark. That’s what I do. I do it in practice. I do it in game time.”
The Cyclones started the second half with a 10-4 run fueled by a Melvin Ejim dunk, a Babb 3-pointer and a conventional 3-point play from Anthony Booker.
That pushed the lead to 46-32 and Campbell would trail by double digits the rest of the game.
“I was concerned about these guys,” Hoiberg said of the Fighting Camels. “I think we took a big step in the right direction defensively this week.”
Babb, widely considered one of the Big 12’s top defenders, is a big reason why.
“It just makes us so much more versatile,” Hoiberg said of having him back. “Chris is our best defender. … Plus, he gives you another perimeter threat out there. He made some really nice decision tonight. The five assists and zero turnovers, I think, was a great thing. And he got us some good extra possessions by going in there and battling, as well.”
Comments are closed.