LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Georges Niang and Jameel McKay commanded the floor against No. 1 Kansas. But their double-digit efforts were no match for the senior night energy in Allen Fieldhouse as No. 21 Iowa State fell short 85-78 on Saturday.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Georges Niang and Jameel McKay commanded the floor against No. 1 Kansas.
But their double-digit efforts were no match for the senior night energy in Allen Fieldhouse as No. 21 Iowa State fell short 85-78 on Saturday.
Within the final five minutes of the game, Kansas exploded out on an 11-0 run to elevate its lead to eight. But it wasn't because Iowa State wasn't putting up shots — they just didn't fall.
"Kansas is really good at defense," said Niang, who scored 22. "Obviously if you're going to do something down the stretch and it's working, somebody's got to make an adjustment. I thought we made adjustments and ran other plays, but I think the thing is we missed shots we could have made — I missed a couple. That's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes."
Perry Ellis scored 22 points, including a hook shot over Niang to ice the game, as Kansas stretched its nation-leading home winning streak to 42 games.
Devonte Graham and Wayne Selden, Jr. finished with 16 points apiece for Kansas (27-4, 15-3 Big 12), which has won 33 straight home finales.
"I'm proud of this team," Self said. "I've been proud of teams before, but when you have lottery picks or guys like that where you know you have better players who perform at a very high level, the chances are you'll be successful. This team I think we have terrific players, but I think this team has earned its stripes as much as any team we've had here."
Ellis, playing in his final game at Allen Fieldhouse, spearheaded an 11-0 run over the final 4:45 with a hustle play. He ended it with an emphatic dunk and 16,000 fans cheering his name one last time.
Kansas looked to break the game open with 13:21 left, when Mason slipped his way through two defenders and finished at the rim. Iowa State responded with a 13-2 run to grab its largest — and last — lead at 63-59.
"Obviously I'm disappointed," Niang said. "Anytime you get to finish your last Big 12 regular season, it's disappointing to end it on a loss. Winning in (Allen Fieldhouse) is something I wanted to do. So (losing) is real disappointing, but that's not going to take away from what this team could do in the future."
Kansas, which had already won its 12th consecutive Big 12 title, also honored seniors Jamari Traylor, Hunter Mickelson and Evan Manning before tipoff.
But Saturday was all about No. 34.
He was a crucial part of Kansas' run over the last four seasons. His demeanor and consistency made him a fan favorite. He lost just twice at Allen Fieldhouse in his four seasons.
Ellis scored 12 first-half points and grabbed three rebounds against perhaps the only comparable player in the conference and country, Niang. Even as Ellis struggled through periods of missed shots, he was a force, diving across the court to deny an Iowa State possession late in the half.
Neither team leading by more than seven points in the first half. Niang matched Ellis' scoring production but foul trouble limited him to just 11 minutes. McKay stepped up in his place with 17 first-half points and seven rebounds, all while not picking up a foul or sitting out. He slowed down in the second half, finishing with 19 points.
"Jameel played his tail off," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said.
Niang, like Iowa State, was good in the second half. Kansas was simply better in crunch time.
SENIOR (CITIZEN) DAY
"Perry Ellis is old" jokes are rampant on social media. During Ellis' senior speech, he took his turn.
"A lot of people say I've been here forever and they're right," Ellis said. "I got to play with Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning ... Since I supposedly have unlimited eligibility, why don't I come back next year?"
Iowa State: Monte Morris scored 13 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. . The loss snaps a two-game win streak over Kansas. . Niang and Naz Long have never won in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas: Selden didn't start due to Senior Day. It was the first time in his career that he has not started. . The Jayhawks outrebounded Iowa State 39-33 after falling behind early in that department.
Iowa State: Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 9-12
Kansas: Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 9-12