Ames, Iowa — Iona's guards proved to be even better than advertised against Iowa State.
Ricky Soliver scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half, and Steve Burtt collected 17 of his 23 in the second half, lifting Iona to an 89-72 victory over Iowa State on Saturday night.
The Gaels' third guard, Marvin McCullough, hit two key shots in the second half, and all three helped break Iowa State's press, which the Cyclones count on to produce turnovers and points.
That didn't happen in this one.
"If we had gotten 10 steals, it might have been a different outcome," Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan said. "The fact that they were able to take care of the ball was not a positive for us."
Iona (3-0) made seven three-pointers over Iowa State's zone defense in building a 40-37 halftime lead, then turned back the Cyclones (3-1) repeatedly in the final 20 minutes before pulling away down the stretch to win the Cyclone Challenge.
The Gaels did a good job slowing Iowa State's running game and kept the Cyclones from getting the ball inside, forcing them to settle for jump shots. Iowa State shot just 4-for-17 from three-point range and missed eight of 20 free throws.
"This is a great win," Iona coach Jeff Ruland said. "Iowa State is a great team, and this goes down as one of the best wins in school history."
Soliver went 4-for-5 on three-pointers, all in the first half, and finished 8-for-16 overall. He was named the round-robin event's most valuable player. Burtt was just 6-for-20 from the field but made all 10 of his free throws.
Iona finished 24-for-27 at the line and was 9-for-19 from three-point range.
"We knew all their guards could shoot," Iowa State's Rahshon Clark said. "We tried to contest as best we could, but they made them. We tried, but there's nothing you can do about it when a team is on."
Will Blalock scored 17 points, Curtis Stinson had 16, and Clark added 15 for Iowa State, which had won 21 straight nonconference games at home since losing to Iowa in the 2003 NIT.
Iowa State scored only four fast-break points and was outscored, 20-17, in points off turnovers. And while the Cyclones didn't always get the kind of shots they wanted, Morgan didn't blame the offense.
"Our offense didn't fail. We got shots," he said. "The bottom line is we didn't get enough stops. That's what we didn't do."
Iowa State twice got within a point in the second half, the second time at 54-53 when Stinson stole the ball and fed Tasheed Carr for a layup. The Cyclones had a chance to take the lead when a triple-team forced Gary Springer into a traveling violation, but Stinson missed a driving shot, and Iona scored the next eight points.