It may be as big of a game as Kansas hosts on its home floor this season. If it is, it’ll be certain to go down as a great one, as the Jayhawks exacted a small amount of a revenge for an earlier loss, but methodically outlasting Iowa State 89-76 Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (19-3, 8-1) couldn’t wait for this one, as Iowa State (16-5, 6-3) took them down in January in Ames. Still, after a couple of losses following that game, the Jayhawks had the inside track to another Big 12 conference title and thanks to Monday night’s performance it’s clear that to claim the league crown, you’re going to have to come to Lawrence and take it. For Kansas, it was game that circled and they played like it.
"There was a lot on our mind because we were so worried about the last game, we thought about it so much,” guard Wayne Selden said. “It's been hard ever since it happened—even playing other teams we would get away from it. We were really looking forward to this one. They outplayed us the first time, but I think we played pretty well tonight."
Iowa State came out ready as well and looked the part. They bolted out to a seven-point lead and did so with solid execution. However, it was short lived, as Kansas seized control of the game thanks in part to their shooters, as well as good defense on the Cyclones shooters.
The Jayhawks used the three point shot to amass a 35-28 lead at halftime. In doing so, they also limited Iowa State to season low 35 percent from the field in the first half, setting the tone for the rest of the contest.
In the second half, Kansas proceeded to run the Cyclones out of Allen Fieldhouse, as their emphasis of transition defense, which killed them in the first game, led to opportunities to turn the tables on their bewildered opponent.
"We definitely tried to out-run them, that was the emphasis on the game,” guard Kelly Oubre said. “We did great on that compared to the first game."
Led by Selden’s team high 20 points, as well as back breaking three after back breaking three, five in total, the lead grew as high as 19. Oubre and fellow guard Brannen Greene would go on to score 16 and 11 points respectively, while hitting two three a piece. When the barrage was done, it was clear that the Big 12 is still firmly owned by Kansas.
Kansas will look to continue its streaking ways when they travel to Stillwater, Saturday to face Oklahoma State.