ISU makes Kansas a Cyclone state too

Jeff Stell

ISU men’s basketball coach Larry Eustachy felt the Cyclones played their best game of the year Monday night, but also pointed out afterwards that a missed Kansas shot at the buzzer was the difference in the Cyclone win.The Cyclones, ranked 12th, upset the No. 5 Jayhawks 79-77 in Phog Allen Fieldhouse in front of an ESPN national television audience and with first place in the Big 12 Conference on the line. The win was the seventh in a row for Iowa State (20-3 overall, 8-2 Big 12) and the fourth in a row over the Jayhawks.Throughout the majority of the game, the Cyclones held the lead and fought off Jayhawk rallies. The Jayhawks stormed back in the final two minutes and had a chance to win it but Luke Axtell badly missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.”We knew they’d make a run, and we withstood it,” Eustachy said. “It came all the way down to the last play, that three goes in we don’t win the game. It could’ve easily gone in like it did for us at Nebraska.”The win marked the second year in a row that the Cyclones walked away from Lawrence victorious. Last season, the Cyclones won 64-62 in Allen Fieldhouse.Going into a hostile environment and playing a team with a height advantage, the Cyclones needed their best effort and solid shooting from the perimeter. They came through in both areas.The Cyclones finished 11-for-17 from three-point range. Kantrail Horton, who led all scorers with 19 points, finished a perfect 4-for-4 from long range.”This is the best game we’ve played by far this year,” Eustachy said. “We made some unbelievable shots from very deep that are a little uncharacteristic of our team. We hit some incredible shots and that’s what it took to win this game.”Freshman sharpshooter Jake Sullivan drilled a pair of three-pointers and enjoyed playing in the historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse.”We were all really focused coming into tonight and I thought that had part to do with it,” Sullivan said. “Part of it is that this a great place to play and we were feeling it tonight and the seniors really led us, Kantrail and Jamaal in particular.”The Jayhawks edged the Cyclones in the battle on the boards by a 36-32 margin. Nick Collison led all players with nine rebounds while Drew Gooden tallied eight.”They were just beating us to spots all night,” Horton said. “They were penetrating and getting to the glass too easy. They were getting offensive rebounds on us and that’s what we practiced all week, rebounding and defending, and they got us tonight.”The Jayhawks totaled five players in double figures, led by 14 points from Gooden. The Jayhawks finished with a 50 percent shooting percentage – a statistic which bothered Eustachy.”I was disappointed with our defense,” Eustachy said. “We gave up 50 percent again, back-to-back games for the first time since I’ve been here. The great thing is that there is room for improvement in our team.”