Iowa State paid a visit to the arena where they split the previous 2 meetings with Kansas in a pivotal Big 12 showdown Monday night. Unfortunately, the Cyclones were unable to hold onto a halftime lead, falling 80-76. Their record now stands at 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
Both teams came out ready to run, and the first media timeout didn’t happen until almost 7 minutes into the game. It was the Cyclones that grabbed an early lead with Talen Horton-Tucker as the catalyst. THT finished the first half with 13 points on 5-8 shooting to lead the team. Marial Shayok was also in double figures in the 1st half, and ball movement was excellent as a whole, leading to a 53% shooting effort early. The Cyclones did commit an uncharacteristically high 9 first half turnovers, but the offense was good enough to overcome. Dedric Lawson dominated the first half for the Jayhawks. He scored 15 points while only missing 2 shots, as the Cyclone bigs struggled to keep him off the boards. It was the Cyclones that brought a 42-37 lead into the locker room after the first 20 minutes.
The 2nd half was a completely different story. Nick Weiler-Babb hit an early 3 to push Iowa State’s lead to 8, but the offense came to a screeching halt from there, at one point going over 5 minutes without scoring. Kansas used a 16-2 run to take an 8 point lead of their own, as the defense struggled to keep Marcus Garrett from driving to the rim. However, the team did respond and tied the game at 69 with 3 minutes left. Kansas just executed a little bit better than we did, and a Lawson 3 with 23 seconds left put the Jayhawks up 5, effectively ending the game. Lawson finished with 29 points and 15 rebounds on 13-17 shooting. Shayok paced the Cyclones with 26 points.
Winning on the road, especially in Lawrence, is tough. But it’s hard not to feel like the Cyclones let an opportunity slip away tonight. Free throw shooting was a struggle again, and the team will have to work on executing for all 40 minutes. One thing we’ve learned is that this team responds well to adversity and isn’t afraid of any environment. They’ll put that to the test on Saturday, as they travel to Oxford, Mississippi for a non-conference matchup with #20 Ole Miss.