KU Blows Away Cyclones, 83-59

What did the Kansas Jayhawks and a new furnace have in common Monday night? Both were low energy, high efficiency.

There was one thing KU head coach Bill Self could pick on after his team’s solid 24-point win over an improved Iowa State team in Allen Field House, and that was it.

“Our energy level was average, at best,” Self said. “This was not the same team, defensively, that was so jacked up to play Oklahoma last week. We played efficiently on defense, but we weren’t the same team. And they (the KU players) know it. If you ask them, on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being Oklahoma, this would be a six or a seven.”

Other than that, what’s not to like? Not much.

Darnell Jackson made himself very likeable with a double-double: 21 points, 11 rebounds.

“He (Jackson) was great,” Self said. “He’s been like that every game. Maybe not 20 points, but he’s been a 14-and-eight guy for the last month.”

Jackson gave all the credit to his teammates for getting him the ball in good spots. He also said Self has been encouraging him to look for his shot.

Jackson said, “Coach says, ‘If it’s an open shot, step out and take it.’ Tonight I had open shots, so I took ‘em.”

 Darrell Arthur shook off a sluggish start and a bad calf to contribute 16 points. Russell Robinson and Brandon Rush chipped in 11 each, and Mario Chalmers had 10.

Rush and Chalmers also dished six assists each against just one turnover each.

Robinson thought it was a blue-collar effort. “We played pretty good. We had a little bit of a slow start, but we did a good job grinding and we built a nice lead.”

KU did so and eventually won convincingly despite only seven fast-break points against Iowa State. Arthur said this is not because Kansas doesn’t want to run but rather because the competition is making adjustments.

“Teams are starting to have one or two guys crash the boards and sending three or four back,” he said. “It’s tough getting fast-break points. We just try and make the best of it.”

Self agreed. “We’re still playing fast, but we’re not playing as much in the open court. And a reason we were running was because of the defense. I told you our steals were going to go down (when conference play started). Thing is, they’ve gone down dramatically.”

Iowa State did a good job of taking away the Jayhawk guards on the perimeter – KU only took 10 three-point shots, making five – but this left Kansas’ post players in a good position to score, Self said. He wasn’t exactly shocked ISU played so guard-heavy.

“When you talk about getting the crowd into the game by making threes and things like that, we’re pretty good at that, so no, I wasn’t surprised.”

Unfortunately for Iowa State, this resulted in Kansas outscoring the Cyclones, 42-16, in the paint.

Iowa State seized a 4-2 lead at the 18:26 mark of the first half. Brandon Rush hit a three, and KU never relinquished their advantage, leading by as many as 26 late in the second period.

The Cyclones (12-7 overall, 2-2 in conference play) are longer and leaner than they have been in the recent past, but their lack of guard play was a major disadvantage against the balanced Jayhawks. Kansas scored 32 field goals with 22 assists. Iowa State had just 19 field goals and only seven assists.

Iowa State was led in scoring by Wesley Johnson, but they didn’t come easy. He had 21 points, shooting 6-of-17 from the field, including 3-of-10 from behind the arc. He also made all six of his free throw attempts.

Speaking of free throws, Kansas’ continued to improve at the charity stripe. The Jayhawks made 14-of-18 for 77.8 percent. They shot 32-of-64 (50 percent) from the field.

KU (19-0, 4-0) now gets to spend some time this week on their own game the rest of this week. They don’t play again until Saturday when they play Nebraska, a team they’ve already beaten, 79-59, in Lincoln. Tip-off is set for 12:45 p.m. in the Phog.

Self doesn’t expect a repeat of the January 12th game against the Cornhuskers, though.

“(Nebraska coach) Doc (Sadler) will have something up his sleeve,” Self said. “They’ll be ready.”

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