No. 2/1 Kansas withstands late Iowa State rally for 17th-straight victory, 76-72
LAWRENCE, Kan. – All the “Hilton Magic” wands in Hilton Coliseum couldn’t stop the Jayhawks on Monday night as No. 2/1 Kansas held off a late Iowa State rally for its 17th-straight victory, 76-72.
The Cyclones nearly erased KU’s 10-point lead with 1:57 remaining in the contest after a pair of 3-pointers from Nazareth Mitrou-Long and Monte Morris cut KU’s lead to three points with 14 seconds remaining. Junior guard Devonte’ Graham put ISU at arm’s length by making a free throw with 12 seconds remaining and giving KU a four-point lead, 76-72. Kansas was able to muster up one last defensive stop to remain unbeaten in league play.
The Jayhawks improve to 17-1 and 6-0 in Big 12 play after shooting 55 percent from the field and out-rebounding Iowa State, 41-24, on the first ESPN Big Monday matchup of the season. KU snaps a two-game losing skid at Hilton Coliseum and now leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 179-63.
Senior guard and national player of the year candidate Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks with 16 points, while Graham dished out eight assists. Senior center Landen Lucas scored 14 points to set the tone for a season-high 54 team points in the paint for the Jayhawks.
Frank Mason III guarded by ISU’s Monte Morris.
Iowa State (11-5, 3-2 Big 12) was paced by 23 points from Morris and 21 points from senior guard Matt Thomas.
The cold and icy conditions in central Iowa didn’t stop over 14,000 fans flocking to Hilton Coliseum, where they each received red-glowing wands to enhance the game atmosphere and potentially the chances of Iowa State defeating Kansas for the third-straight time in Ames.
Kansas won the tip and didn’t waste any time scoring, as Jackson made a wide open layup 10 seconds into the contest. ISU bounced back after two-straight steals, followed by a three-second violation by Kansas led to an 8-6 Cyclone lead by the first media timeout.
Kansas went on to record 11 turnovers in the first half and 18 by the final buzzer.
Mason was responsible for a quick 5-0 run with a layup and a 3-pointer to give Kansas an 11-8 lead at the 14:09 mark of the first half. Kansas did not surrender the lead for the remainder of the game.
Lucas later showed how defense and produce offense. The Portland, Oregon native sacrificed his body to take a charge from a driving Mitrou-Long. The charge provided the opportunity to pull away from the Cyclones, generating a 3-pointer by Graham and a score in the paint by Lucas himself as Kansas took an 18-10 lead.
The Jayhawks flexed their strengths as a fast-paced offense during a 6-0 run to take a 26-16 lead. Vick made a tip-in from an offensive rebound. Vick later stole and flushed a dunk on the other end to give Kansas a 26-16 lead and forced an Iowa State timeout at the 9:36 mark of the first half.
Junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk further silenced the cardinal and gold-clad crowd with a 3-pointer at the top of the key to give Kansas a 32-22 lead. The Cyclones answered with a 3-pointer of their own, but Kansas kept feeding the ball inside, this time two points for Carlton Bragg Jr., for a 34-25 lead.
Bragg wound up registering his first double-figure scoring effort since November, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds.
Jackson blocked Morris fast-break layup and it quickly turned into a fast-break opportunity for Mason in the other direction. Mason who drove coast-to-coast and spun a layup with English off the backboard to . Iowa State made their second of its first 10 3-point attempts to pull within four, 36-32, and force a Kansas timeout.
Kansas took a 43-37 lead into halftime after shooting 61.3 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Cyclones by 11 in the first 20 minutes, 20-9.
The Jayhawks forced three Morris turnovers in the first half – Morris entered Monday with 30 assists and just one turnover in the first five Big 12 games this season. The Iowa State senior did not record a turnover for the remainder of the contest.
Kansas was marked by team consistency all night as all seven Jayhawks made at least one field goal in both the first and second half.
Despite Iowa State’s Mitrou-Long scoring 14 second-half points, the Jayhawks were able to maintain a nearly a five-point scoring margin for the majority of the second half until the Cyclones’ late rally.
For the 18th time in 18 games, Kansas held the lead with five minutes remaining in regulation. After Mason made a layup, weaving past Morris from the top of the key, to put Kansas ahead 73-63 with 1:57 remaining, ISU fans started to head for the exits early.
With under two minutes remaining, ISU took advantage of a pair of KU miscues as Mitrou-Long made a 3-pointer to bring ISU within six, 73-67, after KU turned the ball over. Mason then missed his only attempt at the free throw line of the night to setup a Morris trey and bring the Cyclones within three, 73-70.
Coming out of an Iowa State timeout, sophomore guard Lagerald Vick gave KU a five-point lead, 75-70, with a dunk with 18 seconds remaining. On the ensuing ISU possession, Morris took it coast-to-coast and gave Jackson his fifth foul of the night – making both of his free throws for a 75-72 score.
ISU fouled Graham on KU’s inbounds play, and Graham put Kansas up four, 76-72, by making one of his two free throws. The Jayhawks held on for the victory after Iowa State missed two 3-point attempts in the waning seconds of regulation.
The Jayhawks return home to host Texas on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. Central, on CBS.
KU STARTERS (CONSECUTIVE / SEASON / CAREER STARTS)
Sr. G Frank Mason III (92 / 18 / 95)
Jr. G Devonte’ Graham (25 / 18 / 54)
Jr. G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (8 / 8 / 14)
Fr. G Josh Jackson (18 / 18 / 18)
Sr. C Landen Lucas (7 / 12 / 45)
• Kansas now leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 179-63.
• The Jayhawks snap a two-time losing skid inside Hilton Coliseum, improving to 25-21 inside ISU’s home facility.
• Kansas is 17-1 or better for the sixth time in the Bill Self era and first since the 2012-13 season, when the Jayhawks went 19-1.
• Kansas is 6-0 in Big 12 play for the 10th time in the 21-year history of the league.
• KU’s 17th-straight win ties for the fourth-longest winning streak during the Bill Self era.
• Bill Self is now 402-84 at Kansas and 609-189 overall.
• Kansas now has an all-time record of 2,203-837.
• FEWEST FREE THROWS: Kansas went 2-for-5 at the free throw line on Monday. It marks the fewest free throws made and free throws attempted as a team for KU since making 2-of-4 shots from the charity stripe at Texas Tech on Jan. 20, 2007.
• BIG MONDAY: Monday night marked KU’s first of four appearances on ESPN’s Big Monday telecast. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 58-20 on Big Monday (33-1 at home, 25-19 on the road), including 38-12 under head coach Bill Self (22-0 at home, 17-12 on the road).
• SHOOTING ON THE ROAD: KU’s 54.8 shooting percentage (34-for-62) is the highest shooting percentage away from Allen Fieldhouse this season.
Kansas maintains these active streaks, all of which lead the nation:
• 12 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles
• 27 NCAA Tournament appearances
• 27 seasons with 20+ wins
• 52 wins at home, including 49 in Allen Fieldhouse
• 151 weeks ranked in AP Top 25; 157 weeks in the USA Today NABC Coaches’ Poll
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