When you're Kansas, it's just never fun to play in Ames. The Iowa State fans get up for this one, the players get up for this one and all that is evidenced by just the second home sellout for the Cyclones this season. Saturday it made for a tough environment and a very difficult game against an improving Cyclone program.
From the start this game was ugly. Kansas found themselves down early then used a run late in the 1st half to pull ahead before ultimately trailing by three at the intermission. Kansas had weathered the first half emotional storm and successfully managed a potentially damaging foul situation to head into the half feeling fortunate.
The second half started out on a positive note as the Jayhawk put some distance between themselves and the Cyclones as the offense started clicking. Then just as easily as things got going, they slipped away. Kansas wasn't sound offensively, Iowa State was fighting just a bit harder and Kansas just wasn't catching any breaks or making their own. Down the stretch Iowa State was poised and composed offensively and they executed while Kansas could not.
It's exactly why this matchup was a concern heading into the game and it's exactly the kind of game that wins conference championships. By no means did Kansas significantly hurt their chances at an eighth straight league title by losing this one. After all the Cyclones currently sit 5th in the league and are a likely tournament team. Kansas just had an opportunity to really help their chances and that's why it was all the more frustrating to watch Kansas not play well for most of the afternoon.
Kansas ends up losing this one in a close contest by a final score of 72 to 64. For the Cyclones, Royce White was key down the stretch and outplayed player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson. White finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Kansas was led Tyshawn Taylor who finished with 16 points and 10 assists.
Hats off to Fred Hoiberg and Iowa State for turning a corner. The Cyclones have another resume building win while Kansas takes a step back to 7-1 as they prepare to host Oklahoma on Wednesday. The Jayhawks now lead the conference by just one game as both Missouri and Baylor were able to win home games earlier in the afternoon.