Larry Eustachy's team got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way and were thoroughly beaten in every aspect of the game.
"Kansas is a great team and when you come out with a 22-2 deficit, it's hard to come back. Inexperience really showed there," said true freshman Adam Haluska, whose effort echoed that of the entire squad. "We've got a lot to learn. Hopefully we can come out and make a lot of strides in practice. You don't really get to practice against Kansas and it's almost a shock when you come out there and see that kind of pressure and athleticism. It's overwhelming."
Although they were without the services of two scholarship post players, including starter and second-leading scorer Wayne Simien, the Jayhawks still managed to out-rebounded its opponent by a 35-33 margin. They got a game-high 31 points from Nick Collison, who connected on 11-of-15 shots from the field and all but one of nine free throw attempts.
That was all KU would need, as ISU's post tandem of Jackson Vroman and Jared Homan couldn't stand up to the test. Vroman battled foul trouble throughout before picking up his fifth with just over six minutes to play. He finished with seven points and six rebounds in 26 minutes. Homan led the Cyclones with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but he didn't get much help.
"I think we have to remember that Kirk Hinrich has a lot of Tim Barnes and (Nick) Collison has a lot on Jackson Vroman," said ISU head coach Larry Eustachy. "I understand why. We really got out-toughed. They got the loose balls and the equal rebounds they seemed to pull from us. We really got away from our game. We didn't execute and didn't get back to guard the goal.
"I'm sure Wayne being out got this team more focused. I think that happens when you lose a player of that caliber—other guys step up early. It's also the last time (Collison) will be here. That was huge. He's going to be an NBA player as long as he stays healthy. It was also a good lesson for Jackson."
Monday's loss also provided a hard lesson for the backcourt duo of Barnes and Jake Sullivan, who combined to hit just 7-of-25 shots from the field.
Barnes particularly struggled in his first conference game. In addition to making only 1-of-8 field goals, he committed six turnovers to his two assists in 36 minutes.
"I think we took a step backwards tonight," said Barnes, who also watched KU starting point guard Aaron Miles score 13 points and dish out five assists. "We just didn't come to play today. Going against great competition out there shows us how hard we need to play. It's hard to play against any team you get behind on, especially against Kansas. They've got three great players and capitalized on our mistakes.
"Any time you miss a shot or get a turnover and don't get back it can hurt you. That's what we pride ourselves on, getting back on defense. We didn't really execute well tonight and they took advantage of most everything we did wrong."
Perhaps the lone bright spots of the night came with a pair of Indian Hills JUCO transfers. Chris Alexander followed up his breakout performance against Arkansas-Pine Bluff with four points and one rebound in 21 minutes of work off the bench.
Jerome Harper sat on the sidelines in street clothes and has been making strides recently in workouts. Eustachy addressed his status afterwards.
"I tried to put him in, but he didn't have a uniform on," Eustachy said. "He's enrolled in school and will be eligible to play next season if he meets the Big 12 guidelines, which he will. He'll be a junior next year. He's been here a few days now. He'll get better with practice."
It's unfortunate Harper couldn't become more of a factor, as ISU's road in the Big 12 won't get any easier. Eustachy's group heads to Texas for another conference matchup Saturday at 8 p.m.