Giant-killer Iowa State does it again, takes down No. 4 Kansas
Kansas had Iowa State’s number for what felt like a century.
The Cyclones might finally be turning this rivalry in their favor.
Monte Morris scored 21 points, Georges Niang had 15 of his 19 in the second half and No. 14 Iowa State blew past No. 4 Kansas 85-72 on Monday night for its fourth straight win.
"We needed to get our best player going, and that was Georges," Morris said. "When he gets it going, he’s hard to guard."
Abdel Nader wasn’t easy to guard either, adding 17 points for the Cyclones (16-4, 5-3 Big 12). They have beaten three of the top four teams in this week’s Top 25.
Iowa State overcame a sluggish start with a 24-7 run midway through the second half, and Niang’s three-point play made it 80-67 with 2 minutes left.
"We weren’t good enough defensively to win the game in the first half. They changed their mindset in the second half," coach Steve Prohm said after watching his team outscore the Jayhawks 49-29 in the final 20 minutes.
Perry Ellis had 23 points and Frank Mason III scored 16 to lead Kansas (16-4, 5-3), which lost its third straight road game.
The Jayhawks have lost four of their last five against the Cyclones, a first for a Bill Self-coached team against a Big 12 opponent.
"We didn’t show much composure when it got hot," Self said. "That was disappointing."
Iowa State was only a week removed from toppling top-ranked Oklahoma, its first win over a No. 1 team since 1957.
But this was the game the Cyclones and their fans have had circled on their calendars since October.
Some Iowa State students camped out for up to a week waiting for tickets to the game, which has long figured to have major implications for the Cyclones if they hope to end Kansas’s 11-year streak of Big 12 titles.
It was the Jayhawks who came out on fire.
Kansas hit 17 of its first 29 shots against a defense that entered play ranked last in the Big 12 in points allowed and went up 43-36 at halftime.
But the Jayhawks went cold, and the Cyclones finally pulled even at 53-all on a 3-pointer by Matt Thomas with 11:40 left. Deonte Burton’s 3 with 9 minutes to go gave Iowa State its first lead, 60-57.
The Cyclones kept rolling after that, handing the Jayhawks their third straight road loss by double digits.
"We haven’t played with a lot of poise away from home," Self said. "The things you have to do away from home, I don’t think we’re very good at doing them yet."
Kansas: Four Kansas starters had at least three field goals in the first half — and all of them shot at least 50 percent. … The Jayhawks joined No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 Iowa as teams who have lost in Ames this season.
Iowa State: Morris was named the Big 12’s player of the week Monday. He averaged 19 points a game in wins over Oklahoma and TCU. … Thirteen-year-old Henry Campbell, a ball boy for Iowa State who lives in nearby Waukee, hit consecutive half-court shots before warmups. He then made the "3" sign with both hands as the student section cheered him on.
"I don’t think I did a good job of getting my teammates easy shots," said Mason, who had six of Kansas’s 16 turnovers. The Jayhawks shot just 10 of 25 — including 0 for 6 from 3-point range — in the second half.
Morris had nine assists and no turnovers. He entered play seventh nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio after setting the NCAA mark as a freshman and a sophomore.
Kansas hosts No. 20 Kentucky on Saturday.
Iowa State plays at No. 5 Texas A&M Saturday.