Cyclones Go Cold in Loss to Kansas
By Rob Gray, Correspondent
AMES — Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane stood at center stage, racking up steals, points and an alley-oop dunk on his bum left ankle — the one that could have prevented him from playing.
It was most definitely the fifth-year senior and first-year Cyclone’s “Big Monday” show, but a Kansas non-headliner ended up stealing it.
That would be the No. 18 Jayhawks’ fifth-leading scorer, Naadir Tharpe, who erupted for a career-high 23 points as 10th-ranked ISU fell 77-70 before a sold-out crowd of 14,384 at Hilton Coliseum.
Kane scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds, but missed on a late drive with ISU (14-2, 2-2 Big 12) down 72-67 with 54 seconds left and also misfired on two of three free throws with 42.3 seconds left as his team lost its second straight game.
The Cyclones’ Matt Thomas had drilled a 3-pointer before Kane’s late misses — his first make on another team-wide off-shooting night — to cut the deficit to five.
He notched 14 in the first half alone as the Jayhawks (12-4, 3-0) won for the 17th time in the past 18 meetings.
Melvin Ejim added 15 points and Dustin Hogue had 13 for ISU, which lost back-to-back games for the first time since falling in overtime at home to Kansas and on the road to Oklahoma last season.
The Cyclones shot a season-low 31.4 percent, including a 4-of-25 effort on 3-pointers.
Tharpe had plenty of support, notably from 7-0 freshman Joel Embiid, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
Wiggins scored a quiet 17 points — but grabbed an astonishing 19 rebounds.
The Jayhawks out-rebounded ISU 53-36, but committed 24 turnovers, which helped the Cyclones stay in the game.
Kansas got it rolling early, riding the smooth yet explosive play of future NBA Lottery pick Wiggins to a 15-4 lead.
But moments later Tharpe was shouting, “Be smart”, to Embiid.
Embiid had just drawn a flagrant 1 foul, which sent the Cyclones’ Georges Niang to the line for two free throws.
ISU proceeded to creep within 15-8 before Kansas revived to lead 20-10 on Tarik Black’s layup with 13:23 left in the first half.
At that point the Jayhawks held an 11-to-2 edge in rebounding and appeared fully in control.
Defense — and running the floor — would resuscitate the Cyclones, who got four points each from Kane and Hogue to pull within 20-18 with 10:23 left. Momentum swung back ISU’s way, and it traveled back and forth the rest of the first 20 minutes.
The good for the Cyclones: Forcing 12 first-half Kansas turnovers, which led to 18 points.
Kane proved to be his usual ultra-productive self despite the ankle injury — which he appeared to tweak with 4:53 left. He scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists before the break.
His buzzer-beating 3-pointer tied the score 36-36 a halftime and he took a moment to bask in it before heading to the locker room.
But the Jayhawks’ 9-0 run to start the second half created a hole ISU could not escape
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