The Jayhawks on Monday for the second straight game wore alternate adidas uniforms. These uniforms were grey. On Saturday against Kansas State, KU wore cream colored alternate uniforms. By Gary Bedore
All of the talk heading into Monday's Big 12 Conference showdown at Hilton Coliseum centered around the injured left ankle of Iowa State senior DeAndre Kane. As it turned out, that ankle had very little to do with the outcome of KU's third consecutive Big 12 Conference victory. By Matt Tait
KU coach Bill Self after Jayhawks' huge 77-70 victory at Iowa State
Even on a night when Naddir Tharpe played with fire in his eyes and on his shooting hand, a night Andrew Wiggins flashed insane quickness and snared 19 rebounds, the Jayhawks needed a big second half from center Joel Embiid to survive 24 turnovers in a 77-70 win. By Tom Keegan
By Matt Tait firstname.lastname@example.org
The question entering Monday's massive game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, was whether this young Kansas squad was ready to go on the road and into one of the most hostile arenas in the conference and stand tall enough to leave with a victory.
Thanks to the performance of one of the oldest players on the roster, the Jayhawks proved they were, 77-70, over No. 8 Iowa State.
Junior point guard Naadir Tharpe scored 14 first-half points and led all scorers with 23, to lead 15th-ranked Kansas to its third Big 12 victory in three tries so far this season.
The victory pushed KU to 12-4 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play and dropped Iowa State to 14-2 and 2-2. ISU opened the season with 14 straight victories before falling last weekend at Oklahoma and tonight at home against Kansas.
It was not just Tharpe who helped the Jayhawks emerge victorious in this one. Freshmen Joel Embiid (16 points, 9 rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting) and Andrew Wiggins (17 points and 19 rebounds) also proved the stage was not too big for them and the Jayhawks used their depth and size to wear down the Cyclones all night.
Every time ISU hit Kansas with a run to get back into the game, the Jayhawks responded with poise and usually got something easy on the other end.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: The teams took the floor for the opening minutes of each half. Taking into account the first four-plus minutes of the first half and the first two-plus minutes of the second half, KU outscored ISU 24-4, stretches that ultimately decided the game.
• Offensive highlight: After a missed free throw from Perry Ellis midway through the second half, Wayne Selden wound up with the ball after Wiggins tipped it out to midcourt on the rebound. With the Cyclones scrambling, Selden zipped a near-no-look pass to Ellis who was waiting under the bucket all alone. Ellis caught it, finished with authority and then ran to the bench after an ISU timeout. Ellis' slam put Kansas up 52-41 with 13:31 to play.
• Defensive highlight: With 9:27 left and KU leading by seven, Embiid saved the Kansas defense with a nasty stuff of a dunk attempt from Dustin Hogue, who caught a pass on the right block and appeared to be wide open for the highlight stuff before Embiid came over and erased it while grabbing the rebound at the same time. Two trips later KU was back up by double-digits and Iowa State called timeout.
• Key stat: Three-point shooting. Led by Tharpe, who hit three of his four three-point tries, the Jayhawks drained 5-of-16 from downtown. While that number did not set the world on fire, it was the ISU struggles throughout the game from downtown that played the biggest role here. The Cyclones shot just 4-of-24 from three-point range, including 2-of-13 in the first half.
• Up next: The Jayhawks continue their crazy stretch against ranked teams when they return to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game against No. 9 Oklahoma State.