Iowa State battled hard and even held the lead in the second half but remained winless on the road against AP No. 1 teams in a 85-78 loss at Kansas. It’s disappointing for the Cyclones — missing out on a chance to make some history and sliding two spots in the seeding for the Big 12 tournament next week.
With a win, the Cyclones would have moved into the 4-seed to play Texas in the tournament quarterfinals. The loss moves Iowa State down to the 6-seed, lining up with Buddy Hield and Oklahoma.
Kansas’ win wraps up a perfect record in Allen Fieldhouse for the season and extends what is now a 40-game home winning streak. It also extends the streak of senior day wins to 32, keeping all traditions intact on the day the program celebrated Perry Ellis.
Ellis’ appearance leads to plenty of jokes about looking old, so there is something great about having the player most likely to be confused for a senior citizen balling out on senior day. Ellis led the team in scoring with 22 points and added seven rebounds, including a couple clutch baskets in the run that sealed the streak-extending win.
It was a game where Iowa State got a huge first half from Jameel McKay, 22 points from Georges Niang and held a one-point advantage at the under-4 media timeout; the Cyclones played great. The buckets were falling, even this deep 3-pointer from Monte Morris before halftime.
Kansas closed well, finishing on a 17-7 run that gave Ellis a chance to have his curtain call with the fans.
Kansas is not only the number one team in the polls, but one of the few teams with a look of a Final Four contender as we enter the postseason. The Jayhawks have depth and have shown they can be a fantastic defensive team in important stretches of big games.
The emergence of Devonte Graham as an added part of the 3-point attack has boosted the team’s offensive potential, and as a 12th-straight season with Kansas at the top of the league standings the consistency of this group under Bill Self is in the spotlight.