HONOLULU — Georges Niang scored 22 points as No. 3 Iowa State pulled away in the second half to whip Akron, 83-60, in the first semifinal at the Diamond Head Classic, matching its best start in school history.
Melvin Ejim added 21 points and 12 rebounds and DeAndre Kane added 15 points and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds for Iowa State, which will play South Carolina or Boise State in Wednesday’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2). Dustin Hogue added 18 points and six rebounds for the Cyclones (10-0).
Reggie McAdams scored a season-high 13 points to lead Akron (6-3). Quincy Diggs added 12 points off the bench and Demetrius Treadwell finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Zips.
The Cyclones found themselves in an eight-point hole with eight minutes left in the first half but made eight of their final 10 field-goal attempts to move ahead by six at the break. Nyles Evans sank a 3-pointer off a steal by Pat Forsythe on Akron’s opening possession of the second half and Diggs hit another 3 two minutes later to pull the Zips within one.
But that was as close as they’d get as the Cyclones reeled off seven unanswered points to extend their lead to 49-41 with a little over 15 minutes remaining. Kane’s layup at the 13:27 mark gave Iowa State its first double-digit lead and the Cyclones continued to add to it, moving ahead by 20 on Ejim’s dunk with just over eight minutes to go.
NOTESIowa State has had at least four players score in double figures in every game this season. ... After scoring 79 points in the tournament opener against George Mason, the Cyclones fell to No. 2 in the nation in scoring at 89.6, just behind Oregon (90.3). ... Iowa State reserve G Naz Long went without a 3-pointer for the first time this season, missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.