Royce White

Iowa State raced out to a 36-14 lead and hammered defending national champion UConn 77-64 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament’s south Region in Louisville, Kentucky.

Chris Allen led ISU with 20 points and the Cyclones made all six of their three pointers in the first 12 minutes as they took command early.

“That was probably the best 10 minute stretch we’ve had all season, and again, I’ve been saying it all year, when we get that thing off the glass and push it down, especially Royce when he rebounds it, we are pretty tough team to stop,” according to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

He felt his team was ready to play heading into the game. “It was an awesome win, I’m proud of the guys and hopefully we can bounce back with a big win on Saturday,” Hoiberg said.

Iowa State dominated the glass be outrebounding the Huskies 41-24. Hoiberg says that gives you a much better chance to win as you get so many more shots when you dominate the rebounding. Royce White scored 15 points and added 13 rebounds and Scott Christopherson added 15 points, including three of three from behind the arc.

Christopherson says they were excited coming into the game to face the defending national champion, but he says they approached it the same way they have other games. Christopherson says the Cyclones were ready to play. “I thought our confidence was at the right level. I thought we respected UConn,” he said.

Junior guard Chris Babb says the Cyclones had motivation on their side. “I just think we wanted it more, we wanted this game real bad,” Babb said. Iowa State plays top seeded Kentucky on Saturday night in a 6:45, Iowa time tipoff.