No. 13 Iowa State beats Northern Illinois 99-63


January 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State capped one of the saddest days in program history with a reminder of why its future looks so bright. DeAndre Kane had 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds and No. 13 Iowa State blew past Northern Illinois 99-63 on Tuesday night for its 12th straight win. Melvin Ejim and Naz Long both had a team-high 17 points for the Cyclones (12-0), who rolled past the Huskies just hours after learning of the death of longtime former coach Johnny Orr. Orr, who was 86, spent 29 years as a Division I coach, with current Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg among his many star players. Orr won a school-record 218 games at Iowa State from 1980-94.

“This has been as hard a day as I’ve had in coaching. I talked to our guys just about what Johnny meant to the entire community, to the state, to college basketball in general,” Hoiberg said. “I told (the team), ‘Guys, I’m going to need you. This is going to be a rough one for me to get through.’ And they did that for us, and they did that for him.”

Dontel Highsmith had 19 points for Northern Illinois, (5-6), which had its two-game winning streak snapped. Tuesday night’s matchup against the lowly Huskies was supposed to be a coronation of the best non-conference run in recent memory for Iowa State. It instead became a side note to a celebration of Orr’s career.

The Cyclones shined a single spotlight on the banner honoring Orr in the rafters. Their players entered the arena in T-shirts emblazoned with “JO” on their shoulders, and fans left flowers at the foot of a statue of Orr inside the Hilton Coliseum concourse. A capacity crowd — which was nearly unheard of in Ames before Orr breathed life into a once-dormant program in the early 1980s — stood for a video tribute and a moment of silence before tipoff. Orr is also the winningest coach in Michigan history, winning 209 games in Ann Arbor before leaving for Ames. Orr’s last trip to Hilton Coliseum came last month, when he was introduced to a standing ovation before Iowa State’s game against Michigan.