|Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim drives to the basket past Kansas forward Justin Wesley (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)|
Kansas outhustled in first road loss
AMES, Iowa—Bill Self found exactly what he expected at Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum.
The place was packed, the atmosphere electric, the opponent determined. It was the most hostile environment his fifth-ranked Jayhawks had faced this season.
So how did they respond?
"Not well, obviously," the Kansas coach said after his team's 72-64 loss on Saturday.
"But I think Iowa State had a lot to do with that," he added.
Kansas (17-4, 7-1 Big 12) lost for the first time on an opponent's court this season and two numbers stood out for Self and his players: Iowa State had 36 rebounds, Kansas 23. Eleven of the Cyclones' rebounds came on the offensive end against a team that's leading the conference in rebounding margin.
"The reason they got us on the boards was I thought they outmanned us," Self said. "When your guards combine for four rebounds in the game and (the Cyclones) shoot long shots, that's a bad sign."
But even with Iowa State dominating the glass and even with Thomas Robinson having a rough game -- 5-for-11 shooting, five turnovers -- the Jayhawks hit their first six shots in the second half to open a 47-41 lead. They just couldn't sustain it.
Iowa State (15-6, 5-3) inched ahead midway through the second half, then turned things over to Royce White, a 6-foot-8, 270-pound matchup nightmare. White, who had hurt the Jayhawks earlier with sharp passes to the Iowa State shooters, scored eight straight ISU points to help the Cyclones build a five-point lead with under two minutes play, enough of a cushion to hold on.
"They've got their own kind of identity because Royce White is a matchup problem," Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor said. "You're not going to find too many guys his size with his skill level being able to do the things he does, with four or five guys that can shoot the ball around him. I think they're a really good team just because they create so many matchup problems."
White led Iowa State with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. All five Kansas starters scored in double figures, led by Taylor with 16 and Robinson with 10. But the Jayhawks got only five points from the reserves and Self saw his players constantly getting outhustled to loose balls.
"Our team's pretty good if we get 70 percent of the 50-50 balls," he said. "If we don't, we're not very good. We get average real fast. And obviously we didn't steal any extra possessions today. Iowa State was much quicker to the ball than us."
White, a 39 percent free thrower shooter in Big 12 games, hit a pair to put Iowa State up 64-59 with 1:47 left. Kansas then threw the ball away and Chris Babb drained a 3 to give the Cyclones an eight-point lead with 55.6 seconds left.
Iowa State students celebrated the biggest win of coach Fred Hoiberg's tenure by storming the floor.
Kansas caught the Cyclones napping to start the second half and took its biggest lead to that point, 45-39, thanks to a 10-0 run. But big man Anthony Booker brought Iowa State back, sinking a rare 3-pointer to put the Cyclones ahead 50-49 with 12:13 left.
Neither team could get much going over the next 6 minutes, but Tyrus McGee's three-point play gave Iowa State a 56-53 lead with just over 6 minutes left. Robinson then blew an open dunk and White hit two layups -- one a reverse he spun off the glass -- to make it 60-55 Iowa State with 3:42 left.
Iowa State fed off the energy of its second sellout crowd of the year and jumped on the Jayhawks early.
Booker drilled a 3 and Babb followed with a steal and layup that put Iowa State ahead 19-11, prompting Self to call timeout.
Kansas finally took a 31-29 lead on an impressive scoop through traffic from Taylor with 3:31 left before the break. Iowa State rallied to grab the halftime advantage, 37-33, despite committing 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
The Cyclones led in part because of their defense on Robinson. He was 1-of-6 shooting in the first half and traveled three times trying to free himself up for shots in the paint.
Kansas certainly knew what Iowa State was capable of after the Cyclones threw a scare into the Jayhawks in Lawrence two weeks ago.
Iowa State led at halftime back on Jan. 14 and pushed its lead to as many as 12 points before Kansas stormed back for an 82-73 win. The Cyclones might have been able to pull off that upset had they shot better than 2 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half.
Iowa State didn't let the opportunity pass by this time around -- and it now has a marquee win that will look great on its resume come March.
"They got a lot of second-chance shots and they capitalized on them," Taylor said. "I think that's what it came down to, hustle plays and rebounding. They outplayed us in that part of the game."