Monday, January 16, 2017

Balanced offense helps Jayhawks survive at Iowa State, 76-72

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) gives a chest bump to Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) after a steal and a dunk during the first half, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) gives a chest bump to Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) after a steal and a dunk during the first half, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 at Hilton Coliseum.


— No one on the Kansas basketball team expected it to be easy to stay unbeaten in Big 12 play — not with the Jayhawks playing a solid Iowa State team in front of a malicious Hilton Coliseum crowd Monday night.

Still, KU, as it has done every game since its season-opening loss to Indiana, had the talent — and veterans — to prevail in its biggest road challenge to date.

Seniors Frank Mason III and Landen Lucas combined for 30 points and Kansas defeated Iowa State, 76-72.

In no surprise to anyone following the program, Mason led the Jayhawks (17-1 overall, 6-0 Big 12) with 16 points, while adding six rebounds. Lucas, too, couldn’t be stopped inside on numerous occasions, on his way to a 14-point, six-rebound night at ISU (11-6, 3-3).

The Cyclones had won four of the previous six matchups in the series and two straight meetings in Hilton, before Kansas won at ISU for the first time in three years.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: Realistically, the Jayhawks would have needed a pretty special performance to pull away from ISU on its home court.

That didn’t happen, but the Jayhawks benefited greatly from their two sophomore subs, Lagerald Vick and Carlton Bragg, getting the kind of energy coach Bill Self long has wanted to see out of the duo. The two even played key parts of a first-half stretch that gave Kansas its first double-digit lead of the Big Monday showdown.

Bragg immediately made a positive impact when he got on the floor in the first half. All that followed from the sophomore big from Cleveland wasn’t sparkling and perfect, but he ran the floor hard soon after checking in to secure great post-up position and went to work for a layup.

That assertion and success for Bragg set him up for his first double-digit game since Nov. 18 versus Siena.

In 15 crucial minutes, the 6-foot-10 Bragg contributed 10 points and six rebounds — all of it necessary for a KU win.

Vick got himself easy baskets via a put-back on the offensive glass and a steal and slam in the first half. On the night, the sophomore wing from Memphis contributed eight points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

• Offensive highlight: KU didn’t get its typical jaw-dropping slams in this gritty win.

So give this category to the man who secured the victory. With KU only up three points and less than 30 seconds left, the visitors broke Iowa State’s press (barely), and Josh Jackson saw sophomore Vick wide open ahead of him for a dunk that made it a two-possession game and a five-point lead with 18 seconds to play.

• Defensive highlight: Not interested in losing to Kansas on his home court as a senior, point guard Monte’ Morris at times willed his team into the game, and burnt the defending Big 12 champions for 23 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

But on at least one trip down the floor, KU freshman Jackson got the best of the veteran.

Morris took off for a fast-break layup with Jackson trailing him and although the Cyclones guard could see the freshman closing in on the chase, Jackson almost baited Morris into testing him. Jackson timed his defensive strategy perfectly, waiting until Morris took off to close in, explode toward the rim, and knock the shot out of the air, sending it off the backboard, while preserving KU’s 34-27 advantage at the time.

• Key stat: Points in the paint. In the game’s opening minutes, neither team did a good job of defending the interior.

However, the Jayhawks adjusted appropriately, while Iowa State continued to have issues keeping Bragg, Lucas and even KU’s guards from getting to the basket and finishing.

Kansas out-scored the home team, 52-28, in the paint, leading to the Jayhawks’ 55-percent shooting and a critical Big 12 road win.

• Up next: Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse to take on struggling Texas, which currently has a 7-10 record and a 1-4 mark in the league.

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Iowa State 72

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Iowa State 72

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Iowa State


Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 4 months ago

Good job Bragg!! Proud of ya, big fella! Vick, too! Keep it up, benchers!!!

Dale Rogers 3 years, 4 months ago

Anyone hear how Frank's knee is? Something very minor, I hope?

Barry Weiss 3 years, 4 months ago

wow, so glad to see Bragg and Vick step up! we do need to cut down on the turnovers though. this could have been a 15 point win the way we shot it and rebounded, but those TO's kept the Cyclones in it to the end. Hey, a road win in Ames, I'll take it.

Jay Scott 3 years, 4 months ago

Every road win is a step closer to Conference Title 13.

Edward Daub 3 years, 4 months ago

The most obvious is the hardest to see.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 4 months ago

Over the weekend, I appeared on these comment threads and said that, based on KU's piss-poor defensive effort against OSU, we would probably lose this game at ISU, a venue where we often lose.

I was wrong, and I am so happy to be wrong that I will open my mouth wide open so you guys can force-feed me all the crow I deserve.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm waiting for news on Mason's knee. Never seen him with groaning face like that.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 4 months ago

Attention all Iowa State students.......

Full refunds will be issued to those who purchased tickets for tonights court-storming event after tonights ballgame . We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused

Thank you Hilton Coliseum and Iowa State University

Bryce Landon 3 years, 4 months ago

Iowa State will instead be sponsoring a cry-in for students who need their safe space after seeing their precious Hilton Coliseum desecrated by the Jayhawks.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 4 months ago

Frank is THE ONE PLAYER WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO LOSE......that goes without saying hopefully its nothing serious. Yesterday Trevon Duval cut his list to 5 , KU made the cut but Duke seems to be thought of as the favorite Trae Young and Billy Preston continue to talk so that may sway Trae s decision either one is a good get.............

Dee Shaw 3 years, 4 months ago

Bryce it happens to the best of us to eat crow. I'm ready to eat my crow on Carlton Bragg. Like you I'm glad when my predictions are wrong. I had some concern on Carlton Bragg and his progress as a player this year. I have felt that he has taken steps back compared to last season. I know it's one game but if we can get this type play and effort each game it will make a huge difference. It was nice to see Carlton in double figures with points since the Siena game. That was played on November 18.

Dee Shaw 3 years, 4 months ago

Did Hilton Coliseum look different on tv last night compared to previous seasons? It seemed way darker in the stands. I didn't know if they have remodeled or what. Anyone?

Kevin Boone 3 years, 4 months ago

First time I had to calm my wife down due to the chants of the opposing team. Every time Bragg would touch the ball the ISU student section would chant "Convict, Convict...". She literally was thinking about writing a letter to the administration up there to complain...haha...

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 4 months ago

They also boo everything, even the most blatantly obvious calls, which gets very annoying as the game goes on. It goes to show that they aren't a very educated crowd from a basketball standpoint.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 4 months ago

They're not. They're a bunch of racist white trash with no purpose in life beyond slopping pigs on their smelly farms along Interstate 80 and rooting for their precious Cry-Clowns. If that was my life, I'd be pretty angry too.

Kent Richardson 3 years, 4 months ago

ISU did one effective thing last night and that was give up on garnering offensive rebounds to get back and keep us from transition baskets. Coming into the conference portion of the season they were the top rebounding team of all. At one point after about 8 or so games they were 5 boards a game clear of second place KU. Must be a deliberate strategy shift by Prohm made several games ago. Maybe he knew that against the inside size disparity they would be facing, in conference, it would be prudent. It was effective last night or seemed that way to me.

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