AMES, Iowa (AP) — Melvin Ejim scored 22 points and Iowa State beat No. 7 Michigan 77-70 Sunday, spoiling Wolverines star Mitch McGary’s season debut.
Naz Long added 16 for the Cyclones (3-0), who held McGary to just one point in the second half while notching one of their biggest wins under coach Fred Hoiberg.
McGary, a preseason first-team All-American who missed two games with a lower back injury, finished with nine points and six rebounds.
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.
Ejim, who also played for the first time after missing two games with a hyperextended left knee, added nine rebounds as Iowa State closed the game on a 23-10 run.
Michigan kept threatening to pull away from the Cyclones in the second half — especially with Iowa State forward Georges Niang on the bench with four fouls.
Ejim kept the Wolverines from doing it.
Stauskas took a loose ball and flushed it home with an emphatic one-handed dunk, only to watch Ejim answer with a 3. Spike Albrecht then hit a layup, and Ejim responded with a jumper.
Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane followed with a 3, and Naz Long’s 3 capped a 13-2 run that gave the Cyclones a 67-62 lead with 5:00 left.
Kane had 13 points and six assists and Dustin Hogue added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
When McGary and Ejim entered play together with 16:17 left in the first half, no one was quite sure how healthy either one of them was.
But by the end of the half, it was clear that McGary and Ejim were the two best players on the floor.
McGary jumped a passing lane and maneuvered through Iowa State’s defense for a transition layup, one of four field goals he had in the first half
alone. Ejim, a preseason first-team All-Big 12 pick, gave the Cyclones a huge boost off the bench with 12 points and five boards his first 10 minutes of action.
McGary couldn’t keep it up in the second half though — while Ejim helped key Iowa State’s late surge.
Michigan was just 8 of 29 from 3-point range and 4 of 9 on free throws.
Ejim’s return was among the many reasons why Sunday’s matinee was one of the biggest non-conference games Iowa State has ever hosted.
Hilton Coliseum sold out in less than 10 minutes when tickets went on sale last month. A school-record 22 NBA scouts requested credentials as well, no doubt hoping to get a glimpse of McGary and Robinson.
The Cyclones also brought back former coach Johnny Orr, who left Michigan for the Cyclones in 1981.
Though Michigan looked to be on the verge of pulling away more than once, Iowa State rallied to score a win that’ll likely come in handy come March.