Friday, March 14, 2014

Cyclones attack paint to knock KU out of Big 12 tourney

Kansas defenders Andrew Wiggins, left, and Tarik Black watch as Iowa State forward Georges Niang gets a shot up to the bucket during the second half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas defenders Andrew Wiggins, left, and Tarik Black watch as Iowa State forward Georges Niang gets a shot up to the bucket during the second half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Perry Ellis and Tarik Black react to KU's BIg 12 semifinal loss to ISU

Kansas coach Bill Self, as well as post players Perry Ellis and Tarik Black, react to KU's BIg 12 semifinal loss to ISU, and discuss how the Cyclones broke down the Jayhawks' defense to reach the Big 12 championship game.

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Bill Self on KU's Big 12 semifinal loss to ISU

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self meets with media outside the Jayhawks' locker room after KU's 94-83 loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament semifinals.


Box score

— In the waning minutes of Thursday's quarterfinal game between Kansas and Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks benefitted greatly from OSU's willingness to settle for jump shots with the game on the line.

Kansas was not as lucky in the semifinals on Friday, as fourth-seeded Iowa State continually attacked the rim and exploited the absence of Joel Embiid in a 94-83 victory at Sprint Center.

“We definitely noticed that,” said ISU junior Dustin Hogue of Oklahoma State's decision to rely on its outside game in Thursday's loss to Kansas. “With such a good shot blocker like that out of the game, you have to attack the paint because there's not a lot of guys who have his ability to change shots.”

In the two previous meetings with ISU this season, Embiid blocked six shots and altered countless others. On Friday night, KU had three blocks, but two came from guard Wayne Selden and the Cyclones often had clear paths to the rim when they pounded the ball inside to their big men.

Sophomore forward Georges Niang led ISU with 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting and many of his biggest buckets came on the type of moves preferred by fathers against their sons in the driveway. Back them down with the dribble, turn at the rim and flip the ball into the hoop.

“Georges, we felt, was the guy that could go out and make plays for us, and he did that,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg, who picked up just the second technical foul of his entire life during a KU run in the first half. “(He) had a few turnovers that he'd probably like to have back, but he must have scored six or seven straight possessions there to create some separation for us.”

Asked about Niang's contribution, which included two three-pointers, seven assists and eight turnovers, Hogue had just one word to describe it.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “When Georges gets going, our whole team is at another level.”

As for Niang's review of his big-time night, the 6-foot-7 forward deflected all praise.

“I give all the credit to Coach Hoiberg,” he said. “He puts me in great situations to use my advantages. And my teammates. They do a good job of spacing the floor and let me go to work.”

For a half, the Jayhawks (24-9) found similar success in running their offense through Perry Ellis, who poured in 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting to help Kansas lead 48-46 at halftime. Hoiberg and the Cyclones (25-7) took note of Ellis' hot hand, however, and limited the sophomore to just two shot attempts in the second half.

“We put a big emphasis on Perry Ellis,” said Hogue, noting that ISU's focus at tip-off was mostly on KU freshman Andrew Wiggins, who tallied 22 points in the loss. “In the second half, we felt like let's double him down in the post and make him make tough shots and make a decision, because if we can make him uncomfortable it'll be harder for him to make shots.”

Added Hoiberg: “We were probably a little too complicated with our one-day prep, as far as when we were going to double and when we weren't. The second half we just decided to go any time (Ellis) caught the ball.”

The victory snapped Iowa State's five-game losing streak against Kansas and advanced the Cyclones to Saturday night's Big 12 championship game.

“(Kansas is) a great team,” Hoiberg said. “It's a great win for us for the fact that it gives us confidence that we can compete with anybody in the nation. It was good to finally get one of these at the end after struggling to close out games against Kansas these past few years.” 


Michael Bratisax 6 years, 11 months ago

Just two easy for Iowa State. Once they started hitting their perimeter shots, it opened up the middle and Iowa State's players were able to dominate inside the paint.

Was really surprised how easy it was to be Black, Traylor, Ellis and even Lucas for a few minutes. This is exactly the blueprint I would follow if I was going up against Kansas. As usual, we were ice cold from the perimeter, had sub marginal play from the point guard position and ended the game going for 2s while ISU kept nailing 3s.

What happened to our perimeter game? At one point this season, this was one of KU's strengths, being able to bring Greene, White and Frankamp off the bench for some immediate spark. I believe they combined for a total of three points.

Our defense is so porous that just about every starter was in double figures. I think this game shows exactly why it would take a miracle to even reach the Final Four.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 11 months ago

Be careful what you say as commenters such as Sam Constance will basically call you a traitor for not seeing the pixie dust that he believes covers this team.

It's a sad day when comments are moderated for any show of negativity. Anybody with an objective eye can see that without JoJo there is no chance and even with him, our guard play is so susceptible to pressure even JoJo might not make much difference.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Nice Post Walter. Warning Mike about Sam and other homers right now is very prudent. They are at an all time fever pitch right now. Beyond reason.

Mike you are right on spot, poor defense and weak PG play will and has been our down fall.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 11 months ago

How does Georges Niang dominate Black, Traylor, Ellis and Wiggins low in the box. Not taking anything away from Perry Ellis's offensive game but his and the others soft defense killed us down the stretch.

Standing 6'7", I don't see how he continually beat the much physically stronger and taller Kansas players. We beat them twice during the regular season but this came meant so much more - well, at least it did to Iowa State.

We should be a 4 seed at best with nine losses and no Embiid. Personally, I think Embiid should call it a season and get ready for the NBA draft. I hope he decides quickly so that Myles Turner is still available.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry about Myles, if he was going anywhere else but Kansas he would have committed by now. He knows he has a scholarship waiting for him at every school on his list...he's just waiting for Jo Jo to make it official one way or the other.

Myles and Cliff would make a nice combination next season...we shall see.

Jack Jones 6 years, 11 months ago

"pixie dust"?? Walter, it's one thing to be objectively critical of how the Jayhawks played today, and at other times this season. But, it's quite another, to be so upset that your comments become hostile, bitter and even mean spirited. I've been a Jayhawk for over 6 decades and consider myself as emotionally 'invested' in KU basketball as anyone (even have Phog's autograph). I assure you a game like today's, and a season like this one is as frustrating to me as to you. However, as I watched today's game ~ and would occasionally check the message boards on this site, I was appalled by the language and hostility about the team, individual players, as well as between those posting comments. Look, I understand that (mostly male) sports fans ~ loaded with testosterone, and super hyped during the game ~ find it virtually impossible to maintain a rational level of intelligence. It's a curse. When it reaches the level I witnessed today, and at other times this season ~ it comes very close to what I would describe as despicable whining. And, I do understand that you (and we) are who we are.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Jack you mean how folks like you react to those posters? Hostile, disrespectful, and bitter?

I am appalled by how so many "TRUE" KU fans on here would rather attack someone who does not say something in some approved way rather then disagree or make a counter point. Attacking someone who is voicing their opinion, calling them names, and challenging their passion for their team does not make it right either.

The lack of respect on here comes from the "True" KU fans. Not the ones who complain about how poorly their team played, or our team's chances in the NCAA tournament.

Ben Schwartz 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't think it is so much negativity in general as much as it is the ones who instigate with arrogant negativity. The ones that show up on the live blog when we are down 10 with 3 minutes left declaring the season over. Disappointment stings all of us, but most of us are looking for answers, not emphasis of the problems we all are aware of.

There are two options in regards to KU's basketball games: You can think they will lose, or you can think they have at least a chance to win. It is the opinions regarding the former that bother most people because if you think about it... if you are truly a KU fan, even if you are correct about them losing, KU lost, so you still lose.

There is a difference between being "realistic" and discussing the negatives versus moping and seeking attention by being overly negative.

Personally, I thought Mike's comment was perfectly acceptable and spurs healthy discussion of what we saw in the game. In the end, he doesn't completely write KU off, just says it will require a miracle to go far (arguably it requires a miracle even with a team playing pretty well anyways).

At the start of the year it was decided that Tharpe would dictate how this team plays. I really wish he didn't have to shoulder all of that pressure, but it turns out the team plays just as inconsistently as Tharpe does.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Ben you cannot expect, nor really believe that on a open forum, where open discussion is encouraged that everyone is going to follow your mutually agreed upon rules of etiquette do you? This area is to state your thoughts on the article or the team, it is not solely a PEP rally place to post. There is no restriction on how to say what you want to say. Even if it appears to you, and just you, to be arrogant or late, or does not need to be said.

You, and many others here attack the poster first for not being a true super positive KU fan and do not even try to reason nor reply with any comments made by anyone. It is much easier to attack the person than face your own disappointment in your team.

So to talk about decorum at this point is a little hypocritical, especially from you.

Ben Schwartz 6 years, 11 months ago

My comment, or whatever parts of it you read, clearly did not instill you with an accurate depiction of the point being conveyed.

You are also apparently unaware of my posting tendencies, as you seem to think I am a chronic "Rodney-hater".

Tony Bandle 6 years, 11 months ago

These last losses just show how special Joel is and make you wonder just how good is he going to be in three or four years!! Without him, we become a very suscetable team with talent but no consistency.

If may use a phrase from one of my previous posts, we are relentlessly inconsistent!!

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