It was almost the big upset of the night in college basketball. But Ben McLemore’s best was just a little better, banking a ridiculous 3-point shot for Kansas with one second left to force overtime. Iowa State couldn’t keep their composure and would lose their tough Big 12 opener in Lawrence on Wednesday.
McLemore finished with 33 points, making all six of his 3-point shots and seven free throws, for the Jayhawks (13-1, 1-0). He only missed two shots on the night, and that incredible bank shot was the biggest of the game when they were facing their 30-game winning streak at home being snapped.
Kansas routed the overtime period, getting up early and pulling away by double-digits for most of the period. Getting the final within eight only happened in garbage time, only upsetting the bettors in Vegas.
Despite the heartbreaking defeat, it was a valiant effort by the Cyclones (10-4, 0-1) who were sparked by Georges Niang out of the gate. He scored the teams’ first eight points and finished with 13 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in overtime.
Melvin Ejim had 19 points and 11 rebounds, both leading the rest of the team. He made numerous clutch shots to keep the Jayhawks from taking the lead late.
Korie Lucious improved his turnovers, having none in the first half and only three total, and the team combined for 11. Kansas had five turnovers early in the second half and looked on pace for a large number, but tightened things down quickly and finished with 15 turnovers as a team.
Iowa State wasn’t able to slow down Kansas’ shooting, but did hit 14 3-point shots compared to the Jayhawks’ eight and rebounded relatively well only losing the battle 43-35. As expected, KU was able to get to the line and had 18 more free throw attempts than the Cyclones.
Considering how this team looked against Yale and other talented teams this season, they were more than ready to handle Allen Fieldhouse, and for over 39 minutes they really had the upset in mind. The only thing to do now is learn from it and not let the loss linger.
The Cyclones’ Big 12 home opener will be this Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Tipoff is set for 1:00 p.m. CT and it will be televised on ESPNU.