Cyclones have Jayhawks’ number again

Jeff Stell

Kansas center Eric Chenowith has the opinion that ISU freshmen Jake Sullivan and Shane Power have no business playing Division I basketball. Chenowith would be hard-pressed to find anyone among a national television audience or the 14,092 in attendance at Hilton Coliseum Saturday to agree with him.The dynamic duo totaled 40 points and 10 three-pointers between them as the No. 7 Cyclones earned a season sweep of the sixth-ranked Jayhawks with a 79-71 win. The victory was the ninth straight for the Cyclones and the fifth in a row over the Jayhawks.The Cyclones improved to 10-2 in the Big 12 Conference, 22-3 overall, and own a two-game lead over the Jayhawks with four games remaining. “I think we all knew how important this game was, and for us to win is fantastic,” said ISU coach Larry Eustachy. “especially if you look at some of the stats. They [Kansas] shot 57 percent on us, but that is a little misleading because they also had 22 turnovers.”Sullivan scored a game-high 22 points, 18 of which came from six three-pointers. Sullivan finished 8 of 11 from the field including 6 of 8 from long range. Power added 18, 13 in the second half.”Sullivan and Power surprised us,” Chenowith said. “To be honest with you, they really don’t have any business playing Division I basketball, and they’re out there killing us. Physically — look at Sullivan.”Sullivan and Power picked up the slack as Cyclone guards Kantrail Horton and Jamaal Tinsley struggled shooting the ball. Tinsley was 1 of 13 from the floor and Horton finished with six points on 2-of-8 shooting.Despite his poor shooting performance, Tinsley showed why he’s an All-American candidate with 11 assists, six steals and four rebounds. Tinsley and Horton forced the Jayhawk defense to collapse by driving into the lane, leaving Sullivan and Power wide open on the outside.”You’ve got to give somewhere,” Jayhawk coach Roy Williams said. “If you try to stop the penetration, you leave them a little more open on the outside shot. You get out there and play them tight on the outside shot and then Tinsley and Horton foul your team out.”Tinsley usually plays emotion-free but showed big-game intensity to counter the aggressive defensive play of the Jayhawk backcourt. Tinsley shoved Kirk Hinrich after the Jayhawks got a little too feisty in a tie-up and then jawed back at reserve guard Matt Ballard when Ballard started an exchange of words.”I like that; it doesn’t bother me,” Tinsley said. “I like it when people challenge me. I like it when people play rough.”Sullivan came out on fire, scoring 14 points in the first eight minutes of the game. Sullivan drilled four three-pointers in the surge, including a 25-footer that appeared to be put up from Elwood Drive.The Cyclones grabbed a 24-15 lead, but the Jayhawks rallied to close within 37-36 at halftime. Hinrich led the Jayhawks in the first half with eight points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer after creeping behind Sullivan on the run and stealing the ball.The Cyclones increased the lead back up to 11 early in the second half as Sullivan hit two more three-pointers. Tinsley set up one of those shots with a no-look, behind the back, around the head pass that drew gasps from the frenzied Cyclone fans.The Jayhawks spent the rest of the game trying to chip away at the Cyclone lead but could never get it below five points. Power made sure of that with a trio of three-point bombs to thwart the Jayhawks five three-pointers during the last seven minutes.During the final seven minutes, the Jayhawks found their touch hitting five three-pointers. Jeff Boschee led the Jayhawks with 19 points, Kenny Gregory finished with 16, and Hinrich and Chenowith added 13 each.The Cyclones outrebounded the Jayhawks, 29-27, including a 11 of 6 edge on the offensive glass. Paul Shirley grabbed seven rebounds and Martin Rancik hauled in six.Rancik also scored nine points, two critical baskets coming late in the game. The 6-foot-8 senior also played solid defensively, bottling up Jayhawk forward Nick Collison.The game featured a physical style all around the court. In the post, Shirley and Rancik scrapped for 40 minutes with Collison and Chenowith, and the Cyclone seniors came away with another win in the rivalry.”It was very physical,” Shirley said. “I was just telling one of our recruits that he can have these guys because I’m kind of getting sick of playing them. They’re big and strong and every time, it’s a war.”The Cyclones can inch closer to repeating as Big 12 regular season champs Wednesday at Kansas State.