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But Niang’s offensive game is more focused on shooting 3s and beating opponents off the dribble that relying on simple post moves.

Niang doesn’t rebound as well as Ejim or Niang either. But his interior defense has improved as the year has gone along, and on Tuesday Niang keyed an effort that held the 285-pound Ridley without a field goal.

The Cyclones have also gotten a lot of assistance inside from DeAndre Kane, an alert help defender whose 6.6 rebounds a game rank among the best nationally for a point guard.

“I thought Georges just absolutely battled the heck out of him. He did an unbelievable job,” Hoiberg said. “Our double teams were much better on him this time. Last time he split us, he got to the rim before the double team got there. Our angles were better as far as getting down there, and our hands were more active.”

Iowa State has a pair of traditional big men in Daniel Edozie and Percy Gibson. But they’ve been relegated to spot duty at best.

Hoiberg has instead settled on a seven-man rotation that’s smaller than many of Iowa State’s opponents. But the win over Texas, the Big 12’s leader in rebounding and blocked shots, showed that the Cyclones are versatile enough to overcome their lack of size.


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