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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Georges Niang glad KU-ISU rivalry heated up in his time with Cyclones

Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) hooks a shot around Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) during the first half on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) hooks a shot around Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) during the first half on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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One of the toughest competitors to come through Allen Fieldhouse during the past four years, Iowa State forward Georges Niang got one final crack at leaving Lawrence with a win on Saturday but came away with his fourth loss in four tries, an 85-78 grinder that went to No. 1 Kansas University.

From the time he stepped into the famed fieldhouse as a wide-eyed freshman in 2013 to Saturday afternoon, when all of Niang’s crafty skills and veteran moves were on full display, it was always apparent that playing Kansas in Lawrence meant something to Niang.

So as the senior, who likely is a lock to earn all-Big 12 honors this season, sat in the Allen Fieldhouse media room one final time, he was asked what he would remember most about playing in Lawrence.

“Probably that annoying song they sing at the end,” Niang began. “That’s one thing I’ll for sure remember. But, nah, just the competitive rivalry. Before I got here, people said there wasn’t really one, and during my four years here I think it’s turned into one, so I’ll definitely remember that for sure.”

Competitive was probably the best way to describe Saturday’s Kansas victory, which featured both teams building decent-sized leads and the two squads being separated by just a single point heading into the final three minutes.

Niang, who finished with 22 points, a dozen of them coming in a foul-plagued first half, had a lot to do with that as he looked next to unstoppable at times during the first 20 minutes. But after picking up his second foul midway through the first half, Niang sat for the final nine minutes of the half.

“I thought about (putting him back in),” said ISU coach Steve Prohm after the game. “And maybe playing zone, but as long as the game was within reach I wasn’t gonna risk it.”

The pine time, no doubt, hurt Niang’s production, but ISU entered the half trailing by just a point. From there, the second half played out just like Niang said he would remember his treks to Allen Fieldhouse. Clutch shots, all-out hustle and crucial moments on both ends of the floor decided this one.

In Lawrence, players who put up big games in KU’s home gym are remembered forever. Buddy Hield’s 46-point outburst earlier this season will be talked about for a while. Missouri’s Anthony Peeler had a couple huge games in the old Big Eight days. Oklahoma State’s Randy Rutherford went off for 45 in a losing effort in 1995. And even the name of Nevada’s Nick Fazekas is still thrown around from time to time.

But those were one-time things. Niang left Allen Fieldhouse with career averages of 21 points, six rebounds and four assists per game in 33 minutes.

Like Hield earlier this season, Niang was escorted off the floor by a big ovation from KU’s home crowd.

“I thought that was nice, and I’m sure he’ll remember that for a long time,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Our people have enjoyed watching him play for four years. They’ve enjoyed watching him compete. And how can you not respect his game?”

— See what people were saying about KU’s Senior Day vs. Iowa State during KUsports.com’s live coverage.


More news and notes from KU’s regular-season finale vs. Iowa State




By the Numbers: Kansas 85, Iowa State 78

By the Numbers: Kansas 85, Iowa State 78

Comments

Janet Olin 3 years, 8 months ago

Niang is a terrific player and class guy. I wish him nothing but the best playing at the next level, but I hope we can slow him down the rest of this year if we have the chance...

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

Nothing classy about him. He doesn't play the game right. He's a flopper and gets away with a ton of traveling.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Hoping Bryce finds his way home from whatever alternative universe he is residing.

BrandonandMaggie Rollwagen 3 years, 8 months ago

Isn't Niang the same guy who recently grabbed a WVU players junk a few games back when he thought no one was looking?

Michael Morgan 3 years, 8 months ago

His "nut check" was nothing compared to the one Elijah Johnson gave Mitch McGary a couple years ago in the tournament. If you haven't played the game, you have no idea the amount of trash talk, elbows, grabs, holds and other "enhanced tactics" go on in games. Most of it is subtle, and almost unnoticeable to even the officials. But it's part of the game. You don't hear players whining about it afterward. These guys are like brothers or close cousins. They try to get under your skin for that little extra edge. The veterans sometimes memorize camera locations and are always aware of the officials line of sight. 99 percent is never noticed. Rock Chalk!!

Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

Glad we haven't seen any "NC's", but getting the feeling that Graham and Lucas are among the best at trash talk, elbows, grabs, holds and other "enhanced tactics" in the games. The best part IMO, is that they do it all with such a good natured smile of innocence.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

If you haven't played the game? So where did you get this wealth of inside info? The Wednesday night league at the local YMCA?

"The veterans sometimes memorize camera locations and are always aware of the officials line of sight. 99 percent is never noticed."

Memorize camera locations? LMAO

Steve Macy 3 years, 8 months ago

I am glad he is a senior, a match up nightmare, KU did good against him yesterday and he still got points. He will have a nice NBA career.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe..I think his game might get him to the next level. Less sure about Ellis but would love to see him prove his doubters wrong.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 8 months ago

Niang nothing but class really good player, always gave us problems just wish the Iowa State fans were as class George

Michael Morgan 3 years, 8 months ago

What a great competitor! Sad and glad to see him go. Godspeed Georges. I'm quite sure ISU fans feel the same way about Perry. Rock Chalk!!

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 8 months ago

The Cyclones should be our opponent during rivalry week.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Agree IF Steve Prohm can keep ISU playing at their current level. We had a good rivalry going in the late '90s until Larry Eustachy got caught partying w/campus coeds.

Under Orr and before ISU simply wasn't good enough for a real rivalry as long as Missouri was where we focused our angst.

Stephen Rehm 3 years, 8 months ago

Niang came out of his locker room for Ellis's senior speech....classy move.

Mick Allen 3 years, 8 months ago

If the Cyclones would play the rest of the league as well as they play us, they would never have lost 8 conference games. Defensively, they are a match up nightmare for us and every one else they play. Their lack of depth and failure to emphasize the defensive side of the ball, off sets, somewhat, their offensive efficiency.

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