Ames, Iowa The Big 12 Conference men's basketball race is officially wide open, thanks to the Kansas University men's basketball team squandering an opportunity to pick up a huge conference road victory on Big Monday in front of a wild bunch at Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State 85, Kansas 72.
Just like that, Kansas (16-4 overall, 5-3 Big 12) has three losses in eight conference games and sits in a tie with a team that, just a couple of weeks ago, was written off after a rough start.
Iowa State improved to 16-4 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 play with the victory.
Images from the Jayhawks' game against the Cyclones on Monday at Hilton Coliseum.
Unlike its past two road games — losses at West Virginia and Oklahoma State — KU came out with incredible energy and effort and took control of this one at the start.
The Jayhawks built a lead of as many as 10 points in the first half and entered the locker room leading by seven when Frank Mason II’Is layup beat the halftime buzzer.
But Iowa State controlled the pace of the game much better in the second half and forced Kansas to play its game while hanging around thanks to bucket after bucket by Georges Niang. Finally, with 8:58 to play, ISU took its first lead of the game on a three-pointer from Deonte Burton. Two ISU steals later, the Cyclones' lead was up to seven and KU was reeling.
Perry Ellis (23 points) did his best to keep Kansas in it, but the Cyclones played like sharks that smelled blood for the final 10 minutes and never allowed KU to regain control.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: Kansas turned the ball over on five consecutive second-half possessions, allowing Iowa State to turn a 57-55 deficit into a 66-57 lead.
• Offensive highlight: Midway through the second half, Wayne Selden Jr. hit a deep, step-back three-pointer from the top of the key that helped KU maintain control of the lead. It was one of those leadership moments, where KU's go-to guy on the perimeter stepped up and made a play. A couple of possessions later, after things got a little sloppy, KU was able to increase its lead to 36-29, when just a couple of seconds earlier it looked as if ISU was en route to trimming the lead to two in transition, when Brannen Greene disrupted the ISU break and then set his feet and ripped the nets on his second three-pointer of the night.
KU players Frank Mason and Perry Ellis join KU coach Bill Self in trying to explain what went wrong in KU's 85-72 road loss at Iowa State on Monday night.
• Defensive highlight: Devonté Graham found himself in a tough spot near the end of the first half. With KU leading 41-36 and Monté Morris looking to cut into the Kansas lead to end the half, Graham frustrated Morris up high, stayed with him on the drive and then blocked his floating layup to lead to a run-out and fast-break bucket by Mason at the buzzer. Instead of leading by just two or three, KU went into the locker room at halftime up by seven.
• Key stat: Three-point shooting. Iowa State shot 9-of-22 from downtown in this one, compared to just 5-of-16 for Kansas. The Cyclones were 5 for 10 from beyond the arc in the second half. ISU also won the turnover battle, 15-7.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will get some rest from this wild game before returning to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday at 6 p.m. for a non-conference showdown with Kentucky in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. ESPN's College Gameday will be in Lawrence for the big game between college basketball blue bloods.
— See what people were saying about the KU-ISU game at Hilton Coliseum during KUsports.com’s live coverage.