No. 16 Iowa State's Rally Falls Short at Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 16 Iowa State battled back from multiple double-digit deficits, but was never able to get ahead as the Cyclones fell to No. 6 Kansas 92-81 Wednesday night in Allen Fieldhouse. The loss dropped ISU to 15-4 on the season and 3-4 in Big 12 play. Kansas improved to 16-4 and a Big 12-leading 7-0 in conference play.
Keys to the Game
The Cyclones were down three at the break and needed to make a statement early to start the second half after quickly falling into a double-figures hole in the first half. DeAndre Kane drained a 3-pointer on the first possession of the half to give Iowa State its first tie of the game at 46-46. However, Kansas immediately responded with an 11-0 to re-establish control and force Iowa State into a timeout and to the drawing board.
The Jayhawks got its lead up to 13 points before the Cyclones established an 8-2 run to reduce the KU lead to seven at 65-58. The run allowed Iowa State to get the Big 12’s leading scorer Melvin Ejim back into the game, scoring four points in the run.
Iowa State was able to narrow the KU lead to four points on multiple occasions, before finally reducing the lead to a single point when a posted up Ejim found Georges Niang at the top of the key for a 3-pointer to make it 73-72 KU.
However, Kansas’ freshman star Andrew Wiggins put away the game. The freshman was the beneficiary of an intentional foul call against Dustin Hogue, making both proceeding free throws to give KU a five point lead. KU kept the ball, and Wiggins got the putback after a missed baby hook by Joel Embiid. Naadir Tharpe forced an Iowa State turnover and Wiggins got out ahead of the back to slam home a shot and give KU an unassailable 81-72 lead.
Kansas started the game on fire from the field, hitting 13 of its first 20 shots and getting six offensive rebounds on those missed shots to storm out to a 30-14 lead. Perry Ellis powered the early Kansas advantage, making his first five shots en route to 11 points.
The Cyclones were able to battle its way back with a 20-7 run that included four 3-pointers, two by Dustin Hogue and one each from Ejim and Georges Niang to bring the Kansas lead down to three points. In the run, Iowa State shot 7-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
Cyclone Game Ball Goes to...
The trio of Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang all played major parts in the Cyclone effort. Ejim had a quite seven points in the first half, but the Big 12’s leading scorer could not be held down for long as he was an important factor in Iowa State getting back into the game. Ejim finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and eight rebounds.
Kane was a difference maker for the Cyclones, a player that Kansas struggled to guard against throughout the entire game. The senior finished the game with a 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Niang had one of the worst games of his career only two weeks earlier against the Jayhawks, but came back with one of his best games of the season. Niang finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, which included three 3-pointers.
*Iowa State is now 4-1 on the season when trailing at halftime.
*Melvin Ejim scored in double figures for the 21st consecutive time dating back to last season.
*Ejim started his 109th career game, tying him for seventh in ISU history with Jeff Hornacek (1983-86).
*Matt Thomas has six blocks on the season, five have come in Iowa State’s two games against Kansas.
*Georges Niang had his first-career 20-point game in Big 12 play.
Iowa State returns to Hilton Coliseum Saturday for a match-up against No. 23 Oklahoma. Tip is at 3 p.m., and the game will be shown on the Big 12 Network.