Cyclones too much for Jayhawks in Big 12 final, 78-66

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A cold-shooting night paired with a 57 percent shooting clip by Iowa State in the second half spelled doom for No. 17/18 Kansas as the Jayhawks fell to the Cyclones, 78-66, in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Saturday evening inside Sprint Center. Redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson and freshman guard Devon Dotson led the Jayhawks with 18 and 17 points, respectively, and both earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
The loss dropped the Jayhawks to 25-9 on the year and to 11-3 in Big 12 Championship title games, while Iowa State moved to 23-11 in 2018-19 en route to claiming its fifth Big 12 tournament championship.
It was a struggle on the offensive end from the start as the Jayhawks couldn’t get the lid off the rim over the opening 20 minutes of action. KU converted on just 10 of its 36 tries from the field (28 percent) and failed to hit a 3-pointer in the first half. Despite the shooting struggles, Kansas managed to keep Iowa State within arm’s length for much of the half. After the Cyclones sprinted out to a 13-8 lead over the first 5:30 of the contest, KU used an 11-6 spurt to knot up the score at 21-21 on Dotson’s driving lay-up with 6:35 to play in the half.
The majority of the Kansas shots still refused to fall though. The Jayhawks played the final six minutes of the opening frame without a field goal, meanwhile the Cyclones took advantage on the other end. ISU used KU’s drought to put together an 11-1 run to close the half and build a double-digit lead before the intermission. Iowa State’s strong finish prior the break handed KU just its third double-digit halftime deficit of the season at 32-22.
KU’s fortunes didn’t change much in the early minutes of the second stanza. The Cyclones burst out of the intermission on a 9-2 run the forced Bill Self to call a timeout, suddenly with his team down 43-31 less than three minutes after the restart.
Kansas came out of the timeout and managed to get its deficit back to 10 points using a 9-2 run with four different Jayhawks contributing during the stretch. Dotson’s drive and score with 14:50 remaining pulled his team to within 43-33. The Cyclones had another answer though with ISU forward Michael Jacobson was able ignite a 7-0 spurt to get his team’s lead back up to 17 points before the under-12 minute media timeout.
The Jayhawks made one more push to get itself back in the game, as a Dotson 3-pointer kicked off a stretch that saw KU connect on seven-straight field goals over a five-minute period. The run pulled the Crimson and Blue to within nine points, 60-51, still with more than seven minutes left in regulation.
The Kansas comeback was made more difficult as the fouls began to pile up on the Jayhawks. Fourteen of the Cyclones’ final 21 points came from the charity stripe, as ISU converted on 14-of-14 from the free throw line in the final nine minutes of regulation.
Marcus Garrett and Lawson combined for eight points during an 8-2 KU stretch as the clock ticked under five minutes and the Jayhawks were able to get ISU lead back to single digits at 72-63, but that is as close as Kansas would get. The Jayhawks hit just one bucket over the final two minute and the Cyclones’ prowess from the free throw line closed out the 78-66 victory.
Lawson scored 13 points over the final 20 minutes to lead his team in scoring with 18 points on the night to go along with eight rebounds. Dotson added 17 points, his fifth-straight game in double-figures, and Quentin Grimes tallied 10 points to go along with two blocks in 37 minutes of action.
Kansas ended the game shooting 39.4 percent from the field after going 18-of-35 (51.4 percent) in the second half. The Jayhawks connected on just three 3-pointers on the night (3-of-18) in a 16.7 percent shooting performance from beyond the arc, tying for KU’s fewest triples on the year.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
Opening Statement:
“Well, it was a strange game. Iowa State controlled it basically from the jump, but I thought our guys played their butts off. That’s about as hard as we played in a long time and competed hard and we just didn’t have much to show for it, couldn’t buy a basket. But we got the ball where we wanted to and didn’t finish and they made a lot of baskets at the end of the clock especially down the stretch in the second half. Give them credit. They were better than us today, but by no means am I leaving here disappointed at all. I thought we had a good weekend. We competed hard today, and I saw a lot of positive things that hopefully we can take into the NCAA Tournament.”

On his mindset on his team after Saturday’s loss:
“I’m more excited about my team after watching them play today than I have all year long. We had nothing go well, nothing, and they battled their (butts) off for forty minutes. Even it though it wasn’t pretty, I thought we did a lot of good things … Their players were better than our players at making shots. That’s just what it is. I don’t think we defended them perfectly by any stretch, but I thought we got some good looks, too. They were better than us, make no mistake. They were better than us. But I loved how we competed for forty minutes, but there is a difference in competing and trying real hard, still, and what the young kids learned today, trying harder and harder and harder doesn’t necessarily mean you’re competing better, because we got tighter, the rim shrunk.”
NOTES – Full Notes

  • The loss made Kansas 15-7 all-time in conference tournament finals, including 11-3 in Big 12 Championship title contests.
  • The loss also handed KU its first neutral-site loss this season (5-1) and just its second neutral site loss in 17 games (15-2) over the last two seasons.
  • KU and Iowa State were in a 21-21 tie with over 5:00 remaining in the first half. The Cyclones finished the half on an 11-1 run to take a 32-22 lead at the break.
  • Kansas’ 22 points in the first half marked its fewest in a half since KU was held to 20 in the first half against Texas Tech on February 23, 2019. 
  • The 22 points also marked the lowest by the Jayhawks in a half during the Big 12 Tournament since KU scored 21 in the first half against Baylor on March 11, 2016.
  • KU’s nine misses from 3-point range were its most in a half without a make since KU went 0-for-12 in the second half against Texas Tech on January 2, 2018, and the most in a Big 12 Tournament game since Kansas went 0-for-11 against Missouri on March 15, 2003.
  • KU scored a season high 50 points in the paint. The 50 paint points were the most by a Jayhawk team since it tallied 58 against Texas Southern on Nov. 21, 2017.
  • Kansas attempted a season-high 71 shots from the floor.
  • RS-Junior forward Dedric Lawson became the fifth Jayhawk to claim top-scoring honors in the Big 12 Championship. Lawson scored 58 points (19.3 ppg) in his three outings in Kansas City.
  • Freshman guard Devon Dotson moved past Paul Pierce who scored 404 points in 1996 and Kerry Boagni who tallied 408 in 1983 to rank seventh all-time in points scored in a single season by a freshman. Dotson has 411 points this season.
  • Dotson has 122 assists this season as he moved past Jeff Boschee (1999) to rank seventh all-time in assists in a single season by a freshman.
  • Sophomore guard Marcus Garrett grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds, the most by a KU sophomore since Cole Aldrich had 20 rebounds against Dayton on March 22, 2009.

Kansas will learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday, March 17. CBS will televise the selections from 5-6 p.m. (CT). Kansas will be making its 48th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its NCAA record 30th in a row, a streak which started in 1990.



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