CloneCougar Report from KU

As the snow fell outside of Phog Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon, Iowa State's chances of making the NCAA Basketball Tournament also took a hit. The Cyclones dropped an 88-75 decision to the Kansas Jayhawks.

"Our backs are definitely against the wall after this game," said John Neal after the game. "Our backs will be against the wall for the rest of the season. We've got six games left, and we have to try to get on a run heading into the Big 12."


The game started promising enough as the Cyclones jumped out to a quick 8-1 lead within the first two minutes. But the Jayhawks came back to take a 13-12 lead with a lay-up by C. J. Giles at the 12:37 mark. After trading baskets, Kansas took the lead 17-16 with 11:27 left and never trailed again. A 17-5 Jayhawk spurt opened up a 32-21 lead capped off by a three-pointer by Mario Chalmers.


Iowa State was able to cut lead to eight with 6:33 left, but Kansas finished the half with another 13-6 run to take a 47-32 lead.

Easy baskets behind the zone defense led to the Jayhawks shooting 53% in the first half.


"They got some easy baskets in the first half," said head coach Wayne Morgan, "and we made some mistakes."


The mistakes were reduced drastically at the beginning of the second half as the Cyclones cut a 16-point Kansas lead down to eight at 51-43 with an 8-0 explosion within 50 seconds. The Kansas lead was eventually cut to four at 59-55 with 13:29 left as Curtis Stinson scored on a layup. But the Cyclones would never get any closer as Chalmers knocked down a three and Russell Robinson scored on a layup to increase the lead to 64-55.


"I think that they got out on some breaks," Morgan said, "and they made their shots. After that, we fouled them and put them to the line. They made their free throws and we didn't."

This was evident as the Cyclones suffered through their second straight game of limited and poor free throw shooting. After a 1 out of 4 performance from the line against Kansas State on Wednesday night, they responded with a 4 out of 12 effort with several misses at the front end of a one and one.


After a Jessan Gray jumper made the score 64-57, the Jayhawks went on another 12-4 run to pull away and take a 76-61 lead with just over five minutes left. The sequence was completed with a scrum in the Kansas end of the court after Shawn Taggart committed his fifth personal foul. He picked up a technical foul after his push and shove session with Giles, and he left the game with a collegiate rarity, a sixth foul.


The game ended with a large disparity at the free line. Kansas made 26 out of 32 free throws, outscoring Iowa State by 22 points from the charity stripe. When asked about the difference in free throws again, Morgan replied, "I don't think that I can discuss that without getting fined."


Will Blaylock led the way with 21 points, six assists and four steals in 35 minutes of action. Curtis Stinson added 19 points and eight assists, and Jiri Hubalek added 14 points with a 6 out of 11 performance from the field.


The Cyclones were actually able to grab more offensive rebounds (10-9), but they were outrebounded 34-23 on the defensive boards. They shot 45.7% from the field for the game, including 7 out of 21 from behind the arc.


Kansas was led by Mario Chalmers with 23 points. Brandon Rush added 16 points, Julian Wright had 13 points and Darnell Jackson tacked on 10 points.


Iowa State drops to 14-9 on the season and 4-6 in the Big 12 Conference. Kansas improves to 17-6 overall and 8-2 in the conference. The Cyclones return to Ames for a game Wednesday night against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with a tip-off time at 7:00 p.m.


On a personal note, I want to sincerely apologize to everyone for the events of the day. I arrived at the Fieldhouse two hours early to get ready for the game. I have never had any problems with wireless connections and chat rooms until today. I have done chats from high school stadiums in Texas as well as connected to their wireless networks. But not today! I worked on getting a connection for over an hour, and I had a member of their communications department work with me to get the computer working.


I decided to try and see if it would work out in the arena. When I arrived at my seat, it was in the upper reaches of the southwest corner of the arena instead of down low on the floor. I made several attempts to connect to some networks up there, and I still wasn't able to do it. So I decided to go back to the media room and hook up with a network cable and perform the chat from there. I was able to get onto the Cyclone Nation website and I thought into the chat room.


However, I was wrong once again. I wasn't able to hook up with the server. After calling the communications people back again, they determined that there was an issue with the firewall. They called and tried to make an adjustment, but no one was available to make the change. By this time, it was halftime and there was no hope to get connected.


I said that I was going to have a chat from the game, but I failed miserably. I sincerely apologize to all involved and to everyone who made the effort to join me at the chat. I don't take failure easily, and it's not sitting well with me tonight. But I will make another effort to try this in the near future. Hopefully, I will be able to make adjustments and have a successful chat for you soon. Again, my sincerest apologies for letting everyone down today. Don't let this be a blemish for the work that John, Chris and the rest of the crew are doing day in and day out for this website and magazine. Have a good night!

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