Michigan forward Mitch McGary, left, looks to pass around Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the second half in Ames, Iowa.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
AMES, Iowa — While everyone focused on the debut of Michigan’s Mitch McGary, it was easy to forget that Iowa State got Melvin Ejim back too.
In a matchup of returning stars, Ejim outshone McGary and led the Cyclones to one of their biggest wins under coach Fred Hoiberg.
Ejim returned after missing two games with a hyperextended knee to score a game-high 22 points and Iowa State beat No. 7 Michigan 77-70 Sunday.
Naz Long added 16 for the Cyclones (3-0), who closed the game on a 23-10 run and held McGary to just one point in the second half.
“Melvin, I can’t say enough about him. I told him in my office (Saturday), ‘If you do get the green light, I’m going to gradually ease you back into this thing’ — and I think I took him out for two minutes in the second half. Pretty big-time performance from Mel,” Hoiberg said.
McGary, a preseason first-team All-American who missed two games with a lower back injury, finished with nine points, six rebounds and four steals in 22 minutes.
“It was good to be back. Trying to find the right chemistry on the court. Typical first game, trying to find the right group of guys, try to feel it out and have a good feel on the floor,” McGary said.
Nik Stauskas led Michigan (2-1) with 20 points and Derrick Walton, Jr., had 13. Glenn Robinson III was held to 12 points on 4 of 14 shooting.
Michigan was just 8 of 29 from 3-point range and 4 of 9 on free throws. “They changed a little bit of pressure on their defense and blew up a couple of plays and we panicked a little bit,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.