ISU comes up short against Kansas

Brandon Belisle

The Iowa State basketball team played a whole game in handcuffs Sunday. The arresting officers were the Kansas Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks were able to cause 23 turnovers for the Cyclones, while Kansas only gave the ball up 12 times.

“We played a team that was better defensively than us tonight,” Iowa State Head Coach Tim Floyd said.

It looked as if ISU was destined to win the game in the first half behind the 19 points of guard Dedric Willoughby and the electricity of the Hilton crowd.

After a discouraging dunk by Kansas forward Raef LaFrentz on the opening possession, the Cyclones came back to take a 5-2 lead on a reverse layup.

ISU trailed by six with 12:39 left, when Cyclone forward Kenny Pratt knocked down a three-foot jumper to make the score 9-13.

The ‘Clones continued to cut into the Jayhawk lead, and finally took the lead on a three-pointer by Willoughby at the 9:32 mark.

Willoughby’s hot hand lighted the Jayhawks up for five three pointers in the first half, and helped propel ISU to a 32-28 lead at half time.

For a team that is known mostly for its offensive power, the Jayhawks took the Cyclones out of the game in the second half with their defense.

Willoughby found himself constantly face guarded in the second half, but still managed to score 17 points and hit another four three- pointers to set a school record with nine in the game.

ISU was hindered both offensively and defensively by two quick fouls on center Kelvin Cato in the first two minutes.

Despite the defensive pressure of the Jayhawks, ISU only managed to reach the free-throw line 19 times. Kansas attempted 34 free throws and hit 21 of them. “I guess that’s why they’re good,” Floyd said.

The ferocious defense of the Jayhawks opened up the door offensively as well. KU took a two-point lead with 15:34 to go and kept it the rest of the game.

It was a back and forth battle until Cato was called for his fourth foul with 12:52 left in the game.

Floyd was forced to sit Cato for a while and the Jayhawks took advantage, extending their lead to as many as eight points.

Cato came back in and the Cyclones climbed back within three points before he fouled out on what many fans felt was a questionable charge call.

With Cato gone for good, Kansas was able to score points by taking the ball to the inside. The Cyclones were forced to foul in the paint, and the Jayhawks capitalized. Kansas hit 14 out of 20 free throws in the last five minutes of the game.

“Cato’s fifth foul was a pivotal point in the game,” Floyd said. “Again it took the ball out of our hands.”

Playing without Cato also made the fight for rebounding more even in the second half.

“We were up nine boards at halftime, but they played us equal on the glass in the second half,” Floyd said.

Willoughby finished with a career-high 36 points and was ISU’s primary source of offense, during the game.

“The points I scored tonight don’t mean anything,” Willoughby said. “I could have scored three points and got the win and I’d have been happier.”

Next the Cyclones play host to a Missouri team that beat Kansas last Wednesday.

“The biggest game for us right now is the Missouri game,” Pratt said.

The Jayhawks extended their lead to 57-67 with :17 left in the game.

Willoughby gave the Cyclones their last gasp when he hit a desperation three to pull ISU within seven with :11 to go.

The game ended with Kansas taking home a 62-69 victory.