And so it was that the #1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks did what they needed to do to beat the Iowa State Cyclones, go to a perfect 10-0 in the conference and extend KU's home court winning streak to 56 games.
Xavier Henry had his second good game in a row, leading the Jayhawks
with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Marcus Morris, Cole Aldrich and
Sherron Collins all had 11 points. Aldrich added 12 rebounds for a
double-double, and Morris just missed one by collecting nine boards.
Collins also had five assists and no turnovers. Tyshawn Taylor came off
the bench to dish four assists with just two turnovers.
Oh, yeah. It was also Kansas coach Bill Self's 400th career win as a
He responded exactly as you'd imagine he would after the game: he
deferred to his players.
"It is nice to have coached as many good players as we have," he said.
"We've won here at an accelerated rate lately, in large part because
we've had so many good players."
Sherron Collins was a little more willing to give the credit to his
coach, though. He understood that he'd been a part of an important
marker in Self's career and the history of Kansas Basketball.
"It's special. We've been through a lot with him – good times, bad
times – but it's all been a learning experience. It's special to see
him reach this milestone in his career and be a part of it," he said.
Beyond winning the game, however, Self didn't have too many positive
things to say about KU's overall performance. He liked the play of
Xavier Henry and Tyshawn Taylor, but other than that...
"I thought we were pretty stale. We didn't play as bad as we shot. Not
a lot of energy the first half," Self said. "I thought our first-shot
defense was good. We rebounded average, and we've gotta do better than
7-of-27 from three when they trap the post like that."
Yep, you read that right: Kansas hoisted 27 three-pointers, thanks to a
trapping defense that caved in on KU's bigs every time they got the
ball. Kansas shot a respectable 42.4 percent for the game but just 25.9
percent from behind the arc. Collins admitted that 27 threes is
probably too many.
"If we was makin' 'em, no, but we was missin' 'em," he said. "Yeah. We
took too many. I think the way they played it, our big men did a good
job getting' us open shots. We practiced it all week; we practiced it a
lot. They weren't bad shots. We just didn't make shots."
The evening wasn't totally devoid of excitement. The Jayhawks took a
35-26 lead into the locker room thanks to a last second drive and layup
by Collins that everyone in Allen Field House knew was coming but still
Iowa State whittled the lead down to two, 40-38, on a three from
all-conference player Craig Brackins (18 points on 6-of-19 shooting and
10 boards) with 13:38 left in the game. For the second game in a row, a
conference opponent cut a lead to make it close, and for the second
game in a row, Self called a timeout.
And for the second game in a row, KU put the game away.
Out of the timeout, Morris missed a jumper. Iowa State grabbed the
rebound and had a chance to tie or take the lead with a three. The
Jayhawks, however, had other ideas. KU played absolutely stifling
defense on the Cyclones' trip down the floor. Diante Garrett tried to
launch a very tightly contested 18-footer with the shot clock winding
down and shot it directly into the outstretched arms of Marcus Morris.
Tyrel Reed grabbed the blocked ball off the deck and set sail for the
KU basket, only to be fouled on the layup attempt. He made both
KU surprised Iowa State by pressing on the in-bounds pass, and Taylor
stole the ball from the hapless Garrett and went in for the layup.
After an ISU miss, KU came back down the floor where Henry took a pass
from Reed and buried a three.
ISU came up empty on their next possession, and Reed once again scored
for KU, this time with a running one-hander from 10 feet that was
straight out of 1956. In just 2:09, Kansas had staked themselves to an
11-point lead, and ISU coach Greg McDermott was forced to call a
timeout to stop the bleeding.
Brackins missed two free throws out of the time out, and KU ripped the
band-aid right off, taking the missed second free throw and getting out
in transition, where Taylor scored and was fouled. His free throw put
Kansas up, 52-38. Sweep the leg, Johnny. Game over.
When it was all said and done, KU went on a 21-3 run over a span of
5:43. The spurt included an Aldrich two-handed rebound and dunk off a
Morris miss that sent terrified women and children fleeing from the
Field House and made babies at Lawrence Memorial Hospital cry.
Kansas extends their season record to 24-1, 10-0 in the Big 12. Iowa
State is now 13-12, 2-8.
For the second week in a row, Kansas has a quick turnaround to
accommodate ESPN and Big Monday. This time, they'll take on a gritty
Texas A&M squad (18-6, 7-3) that beat Texas Tech, 67-65,
Saturday night in College Station.
KU "Stale" in 73-59 Win
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