Campus Corner

Bench players play a major role for Iowa State

Iowa State features a lineup in which all five starters average scoring is in double figures.

But ask Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg who his most important player is, and he’ll say this.

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“I think our bench, you can say our whole bench,” he said Wednesday after Iowa State, the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, finished a 40-minute practice in the Sprint Center.

The bench is led by 6-foot-6 senior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, a former starter who is averaging 11.4 points per game, 6-6 junior Abdel Nader and 6-4 sophomore Matt Thomas.

Dejean-Jones did a lot of damage in 24 minutes of the Cyclones’ last game, an 89-76 win at TCU.

“He took three shots and ended up with 15 points because of his aggressiveness attacking the rim,” Hoiberg said.

Dejean-Jones was three for three from the floor, including two three-pointers, and was seven for 10 from the free-throw line.

Nader scored 16 points in 21 minutes in the Cyclones’ 79-59 win over then-No. 21 West Virginia on Feb. 14. Thomas scored 17 in 21 minutes in an 85-77 win at Texas on Feb. 21.

“All three of those guys I think have very important roles to come off and try to keep momentum,” Hoiberg said. “If you get off to a little of a slow start, they’ve got to go in and pick up the energy and get us going.”

To reach Chris Fickett, call 816-234-4354 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisFickett.