CONWAY, S.C. — Donovan Jackson scored a career-high 26 points while Iowa State overcame its shooting struggles to beat Appalachian State 104-98 in Thursday night’s first round of the relocated Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The Cyclones (1-2) entered shooting 39 percent, but finished at 52 percent with 10 3-pointers. That included a break-loose performance for Jackson.
Nick Weiler-Babb added 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Iowa State, which ran off a pair of 12-2 bursts midway through the second half to take control. The Cyclones led by as many as 18 and kept the Mountaineers at arm’s distance the rest of the way, avoiding their first 0-3 start since the 1990-91 season.
Freshman Justin Forrest scored a season-high 32 points for the Mountaineers (2-1), while Ronshad Shabazz scored 21 of his 32 points before halftime in a two-man offensive show for Appalachian State.
It was the highest-scoring game in the 11-year history of the Tip-Off, which is being played in South Carolina due to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico. Also, Forrest’s 26 second-half points were also a Tip-Off record for the most points in any half.
Iowa State: Iowa State needed this one. The Cyclones had lost four starters after reaching a sixth straight NCAA Tournament, and they were coming off Tuesday’s 74-56 loss to Milwaukee — the program’s first loss in a home opener in 20 years — that prompted coach Steve Prohm to say: “We’ve got to demand more from everybody.” They responded by getting five players in double figures and taking a 44-38 rebounding advantage in their first win.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers entered as one of the nation’s highest scoring offenses after a two-game flurry that included a 135-34 win against Division II Toccoa Falls, though they had to rely on Shabazz and Forrest here in South Carolina. The rest of the Mountaineers scored 34 points on 10-for-29 shooting, and they were never able to recover from Iowa State’s mid-half flurry even as they hung around to the horn.
The Cyclones advanced to play the Tulsa-Western Michigan winner in Friday’s winner’s bracket. The Mountaineers will play the Tulsa-Western Michigan loser on Friday.