We’re only at the halfway point in the Big 12 season, but Iowa State basketball may already be eliminated from a regular season title after getting pummeled in Kansas on Monday night.
(8)Kansas Jayhawks 89, (11)Iowa State Cyclones 76
The Jayhawks were devastating on defense, keeping the Cyclones from playing “Hoiball.” Iowa State had just 16 assists on 30 field goals made, and had 14 turnovers. It was a great start with the Cyclones leading by seven around the 10 minute mark in the first half, but that’s when Kansas started hitting their 3-point shots. Despite shooting around 35 percent, Iowa State was only down by a 35-28 score at the break.
Unfortunately, it didn’t get better in the second half. Kansas finished with making an astonishing 10-for-21 from 3-point range and shot 60 percent overall in the second half. Iowa State was able to get the score closer in garbage time, but never had a serious threat to come back.
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Georges Niang was the go-to scorer for the third straight game. He finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 turnovers. The Cyclones were at their best when he attacked the rim. All the other teammates were inconsistent all night long. Monte Morris had 12 points, but struggled by his standards with a shocking five assists to four turnovers.
Bryce Dejean-Jones was the second-leading scorer with 14 points, but most of that came in garbage time. He didn’t score until there was 6:39 left in the game with a 3-point shot. He was a threat on the boards and nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds.
Kansas’ bench dominated again. They’ve outscored their last three opponents by a wide margin and again they outscored the Cyclones 20-8. Jameel McKay was responsible for all eight points. He also had seven rebounds and two blocks.
Iowa State basketball continues to have problems defending opponents at the perimeter on the road. It’s not a coincidence they’re draining 3’s rapidly; the Cyclones lack getting to their man. Wayne Selden, Jr. made 5-of-7 long-range attempts and most of his makes were wide open.
Feb 2, 2015; Lawrence, KS, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Georges Niang (31) shoots the ball as Kansas Jayhawks forwardPerry Ellis
(34) defends during the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks won 89-76. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
No one expects ISU to ever have a shutdown defense, but they shouldn’t be giving up nearly 90 points to anyone. Once they delivered the first blow in one started to be a defensive brawl, the Jayhawks took over and never looked back. It also didn’t help that ISU missed 43 attempts from the field.
After getting ran out of Allen Fieldhouse, the Cyclones hopes at a Big 12 regular season title are just about shot. Kansas is getting better and it will be really hard to beat them at home for the rest of the year, and they’ve shown much more promise in road games than Iowa State has.
There’s still a lot to look forward to. ISU needs to continue improving, hope for a rubber match in the Big 12 tournament, and get a high seed in March. For now, the Cyclones fall to 16-5 on the season and 6-3 in Big 12 play. They return home in a revenge match against Texas Tech on Saturday. Tipoff is at 1:00 PM CT and it will be broadcast on ESPNU and WatchESPN.
- It’s important not to overreact to the loss. Kansas has taken over the Big 12, but they’re incredibly tough to defeat at home like Iowa State is. Since the Big 12 was formed, the Jayhawks have lost just nine games at home.
- Abdel Nader failed to score in a road game for the first time since playing South Carolina in Brooklyn, New York.
- Iowa State continues improving on the boards. They actually beat Kansas with a 41-38 edge and having an impressive 17 offensive boards.