No. 6 Kansas 89, Iowa St. 52
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—That old expression “peaking at the right time” could probably be emblazoned in big red letters across the Kansas Jayhawks’ jerseys.
The sixth-ranked Jayhawks, playing flawlessly in stretches, romped past outmanned Iowa State 89-52 Saturday. For a while it looked like the Cyclones might suffer their worst road conference loss in history. Kansas had six players in double-figures and kept Iowa State from having even one.
But the 37-point margin wasn’t as lopsided as the 92-39 humiliation the Jayhawks dealt Nebraska in their previous home game.
And it was merely in keeping with the 75-46 rout of Colorado and the 97-70 shellacking of Kansas State that Kansas also reeled off during a late-season surge that has Jayhawks fans thinking Final Four.
“For the last 10 games we have really hunkered down and played well,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Our guys are pretty confident right now. We’re playing the best we have all year.”
Mario Chalmers scored 18 points, Darrell Arthur added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Julian Wright had 12 points for the Jayhawks, who led by as many as 41 early in the second half and swept the season series with Iowa State for the second straight year.
Kansas (25-4, 12-2 Big 12) remained tied with No. 8 Texas A&M for the Big 12 lead with two games left, at Oklahoma on Monday night and at home next Saturday against No. 19 Texas. The Aggies’ last two games are at Texas and home against Missouri.
Iowa State (14-14, 5-9) made only five of 28 shots while falling behind 41-15 at halftime and dropped to 7-99 all-time against ranked teams on the road.
“It was a mismatch,” Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said. “Physically, mentally, from a hustle standpoint, we were defeated in every aspect of the game possible.”
Ironically, the Jayhawks missed layups in three of their first possessions. But then Arthur and Chalmers led a 24-4 run and the rout was on.
“They’ve got every piece of the puzzle,” McDermott said. “Once they get up by 12 or 14, it’s going to be hard for us to come back.”
At home against Kansas on Jan. 13, Iowa State lost by only four points in overtime. But this time, Dodie Dunson led the Cyclones with only eight points while Corey McIntosh, Rahshon Clark and Mike Taylor all had seven.
The Cyclones wound up 18-for-55 (33 percent), failing to shoot above 40 percent for the 14th time in league games.
The Jayhawks, with starting point guard Russell Robinson benched by a foot injury, shot 52 percent and dominated on the boards, 47-30.
“Everybody played well, and I thought we played great defense in the first half,” Self said. “We got a little sloppy late. But that’s to be expected.”
It looked for a while like Iowa State was in danger of eclipsing its worst conference road loss of all time, a 45-point blowout at Kansas in 1989. But then the Jayhawks got a bit careless and Iowa State found a brief shooting touch, going on an 8-0 run and slicing the lead to 72-35.
Arthur, a 6-foot-10 freshman who had his third double-double, worked inside for a bucket during a take-charge 24-4 run in the first half and then got a well-timed put-back after Rod Stewart stole an Iowa State pass and fed him inside.
Sherron Collins’ basket and Brandon Rush’s 3-pointer made it 25-8, then Wright, on a feed from Chalmers, glided under the basket and made a crowd-pleasing scoop.
After Iowa State missed again on its end, Chalmers connected from behind the 3-point arc and McDermott called a time out.
“We were playing Kansas’ style of basketball, up-tempo, and we should have been playing ours,” Dunson said. “We should have just been patient.”
Freshman point guard Collins, who’s become a crowd favorite and scored a team-high 20 points Monday night at Kansas State, made his first Big 12 start in place of Robinson. He had 12 points and six assists, while Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun each had 10.
Cory Johnson and Jiri Hubalek each had six points for Iowa State, which also had 19 turnovers.
“They just outplayed us,” Taylor said.