Three Big Takeaways: Tight battle not enough to overcome Kansas


Tyler Coe

Iowa State teammates help freshman Tamin Lipsey up at the ISU vs. Kansas game on Jan. 14

LAWRENCE, Kansas —- The No. 14 Iowa State Cyclones took on the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks Saturday afternoon in a back and forth battle to the finish.

Before the start of the game, the Cyclones and Jayhawks were the only undefeated teams remaining in the Big 12, along with Kansas State. Additionally, the Cyclones would also look for their first 5-0 start in Big 12 play in school history.

While a road win was just seconds away, the Cyclones were unable to come out on top.

Here are the three big takeaways from the 62-60 loss.

Slow but steady

Defensive pressure from both sides of the court made it difficult for the Cyclones to make baskets consistently. Nonetheless, the team continued to use one another in order to stick with the Jayhawks.

“We harp ourselves on our defensive efforts so just getting stops and getting the ball moving…we did a great job of that,” Gabe Kalscheur said.

Osun Osunniyi and Kalscheur started off the game for the Cyclones however the Jayhawks soon began a 14-2 run. Nonetheless, Jaren Holmes helped end the run after a corner three.

While free throws and three point basket percentages were similar for both teams, it was the field goals that tripped up Iowa State the most. With five minutes remaining in the first half, the Cyclones shot 21% compared to the Jayhawks 53%.

As halftime crept around the corner, the Cyclones trailed by seven points with just minutes remaining. However, baskets by Osunniyi, Caleb Grill and Demarian Watson, put the Cyclones on an 8-0 run.

With Kansas grabbing a basket to finish the half, the Cyclones only trailed 29-28.

Veterans lead the way

While each Cyclone contributed immensely, it was the veteran players who seemed to have the most impact.

The second half was more competitive than the first with each team going back and forth in making baskets. The Cyclones led by three with 7:50 remaining but the Jayhawks quickly came back to lead 52-50.

That however, didn’t stop Kalscheur from shooting a three to put Iowa State ahead once again.

The fight continued between the two teams and with one minute remaining, the Jayhawks led 60–57. Kalscheur once, again, tied the game with a three pointer.

Kansas grabbed another basket with 11 seconds remaining. When Grill went to take a three point shot to win the game, it turned out successful.

“Their defensive intent was really good,” Otzelberger said. “Credit to them. They were able to make one more play in a really good game.”

Kalscheur and Osunniyi were the Cyclones’ highest scorers. Additionally, Robert Jones helped his team out with nine rebounds.

“Just trying to keep my head up,” Osunniyi said following the loss. “We’re going to learn from it and get ready for Tuesday.”

Gabe Kalscheur moves the ball up the court at the ISU vs. Kansas game on January 14. (Jacob Rice)

Kalscheur finished with 23 points with Osunniyi at 14. Nevertheless, freshman Tamin Lipsey had six assists.

“I love my guys. I love their fight. I love their competitive spirit,” Otzelberger said. “We came up one play short…we’re going to come together even more as a group as we move forward.”

Road travel continues

Iowa State’s trip to Lawrence was the first of four road games that the Cyclones will encounter over the course of their next six games.

The Cyclones will return to their home court on Tuesday to take on the No. 10 Texas Longhorns.

After that, the Cyclones will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on Oklahoma State. A home game against Kansas State will follow however back-to-back road games will be the next challenge.

Tip-off against the Longhorns is set for 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum on ESPN+.