Ames, IA – Iowa State handed Kansas its first Big 12 loss of the season with a fast-paced 86-81 victory on Saturday. While Kansas has won 10 straight Big 12 regular season titles, the Cyclones showed that they’ll be a major factor in the conference race this season.
The Cyclones had six players in double-figures, led by Naz Long’s 20 points. He hit 7-of-12 field goals and 3-of-6 three-pointers in the win including a clutch three to end a promising Kansas run. He’s shooting 43% from behind the arc this season.
Monte Morris was the stabilizer for Iowa State with 11 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds on 4-of-10 shooting. The sophomore is one of the best true floor generals in the country, with an outstanding 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio this year. He led the fastbreak to perfection, pushing the tempo even after made baskets. Morris is the engine to Iowa State’s offense as a mistake free floor general.
Georges Niang (15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Dustin Hogue (14 points, 6 rebounds) were effective up front. Niang showed his versatility as a willing passer and also knocked down 3-of-6 three-point attempts. He’s a legitimate point-forward who can create off the bounce or post up smaller defenders. Hogue showed his athleticism by nearly tearing the rim off the backboard and shooting an efficient 5-of-7 from the field. Bryce Dejean-Jones added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Another key contributor for the Cyclones was Marquette transfer Jameel McKay. The redshirt junior came off the bench and had a productive showing on Saturday with 11 points, three blocks and two rebounds. He was 4-of-5 from the field and provided the highlight of the night with an alley-oop finish over a defender. His athleticism and energy will help the Cyclones the rest of the way.
For Kansas, Frank Mason III scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He went down with cramps at one point, but was the top offensive option for the Jayhawks. Perry Ellis added 19 points and 11 rebounds while knocking down 2-of-3 attempts from three-point range. Wayne Seldon added 12 points and three assists while freshman Kelly Oubre scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Jayhawks played well offensively, but allowed Iowa State to shoot 50.8% from the field and 45% from deep.
Kansas lost its first game since a 77-52 blowout to Temple on December 22nd. The Jayhawks drop to 14-3 with a 3-1 mark in Big 12 play, but have more tough tests upcoming against Oklahoma and Texas.
Iowa State, now 13-3 on the year and 3-1 in conference play, put together a collective team effort and will contend for the Big 12 crown this season. The Cyclones assisted on 20 of 31 field goals and lead the country with an average of 18.6 assists per game. While they lack size inside, the speed and tempo of the Cyclones allow them to put up big scoring numbers. Watch for this team to contend in March due to their unselfishness.
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