Lucious, Cyclones are 'happy to still be playing'

Iowa State faces Notre Dame Friday night in Dayton in NCAA second round

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AMES — Iowa State’s Korie Lucious will face a former teammate and current friend in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. NCAA Tournament second round game against Notre Dame at Dayton, Ohio.

He’s Garrick Sherman, who, like Lucious, once donned a Michigan State Spartans uniform before transferring.

That’s where the measurable similarities end, though.

Lucious is a wily 5-11 point guard who ranks 30th nationally in assists per game.

Sherman’s a 6-10 post averaging 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds.

“It’s going to be good to play against him,” Lucious said.

Sherman’s been a spark off the bench lately for the Fighting Irish (25-9) with 14 and 16 points in two of the past four games.

“I think we have (him) back in a great frame of mind,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.

Lucious — who hit a key 3-pointer against Maryland in 2010 to fuel a Spartans Final Four run — has struggled with his shot lately, going 2-for-20 from the field in the Big 12 Championships.

But he dished out 16 assists to six turnovers despite the icy shooting in those games and scored 21 points as ISU (22-11) posted a critical regular season-closing road win over West Virginia.

“I think he’s going to play great,” Cyclone forward Georges Niang said of Lucious. “I know people have been down on him, but he lives for stuff like this. He hits big shots. He’s a winner, so glad to have him in our circle for these types of events.”

Lucious has had more turnovers than assists in precisely one game since Jan. 23 — at West Virginia when his shooting helped ISU stave off a furious rally.

He’s also made 14 of his last 17 free throw attempts, but didn’t hoist any in the Big 12s last weekend.

“It’s just time for me to take it up another notch,” Lucious said. “Any game could be my last, so I’ve got to make sure I give my all on the court and make sure my guys, my teammates and coaches are doing the same.”

Lucious, one of six ISU seniors — with five seeing game action — remains a leader, and if there’s any time to lead boldly it’s now.

“We’ll lean on those guys, lean on Korie,” Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Lucious wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m happy to still be playing this time of year,” he said.

MCGEE’S “SORE”: Iowa State sharp-shooting sixth man Tyrus McGee said he had lingering soreness from the Big 12 Championships, but it’s nothing major or specific. “That KU game banged me up pretty good,” said McGee, a 46.7 percent 3-point shooter. “But I’ll be ready by Friday.”

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