Cyclones can’t get over hump in close loss at Kansas

Iowa State senior Donovan Jackson takes a shot after contact from a Kansas defender during the first half in Allen Fieldhouse. Jackson put up 8 points in the first half of play.

Aaron Marner

LAWRENCE, Kansas – Just 10 seconds into Iowa State’s game at No. 12 Kansas, the Cyclones saw themselves trailing by three points after a Svi Mykhailiuk 3-pointer.

Thirty-five seconds later, Mykhailiuk buried another triple.

Before 90 seconds had ticked off the game clock, the Jayhawks had another 3-pointer on the board — again, by Mykhailiuk.

Three 3-pointers in 88 seconds. Just like that, Mykhailiuk and the Jayhawks held a 9-3 lead over Iowa State.

But the Cyclones battled back, even grabbing a brief second-half lead — they led for just nine seconds — before ultimately falling short of a huge upset over No. 12 Kansas.

The key stretch came around the 3:40 mark of the second half.

With Iowa State trailing by two, redshirt freshman forward Cameron Lard scored on a tip-in to tie the game at 73 apiece.

Iowa State was playing an inexperienced lineup and fighting neck-and-neck with No. 12 Kansas. Lard was coming up big, as was freshman guard Lindell Wigginton. Everything seemed to favor the Cyclones, who had a chance to pull off a huge upset.

Then it all fell apart.

“We didn’t execute,” said senior guard Donovan Jackson, who finished with 20 points. “We weren’t good defensively. We didn’t execute down the stretch.”

Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham sliced through the Cyclone defense for a layup. Iowa State missed two shots on the ensuing possession, one of which was blocked at the end of the shot clock, leading to a fast break layup for Kansas.

Another loose ball was recovered after a tipped shot. And again, Graham buried the Cyclones.

Two 90-second stretches — one at the beginning, one near the end — cost Iowa State a shot at a huge win.

“We got a real good team,” Jackson said. “Down the stretch we’ve just got to add that extra five minutes… it’s gonna come.”

The Cyclones did tack on five more points in the final minute to make the score look a little closer, but after the Kansas lead was extended to six with two minutes left, it was over. The crowd at Allen Fieldhouse went nuts.

“It was crazy,” said Wigginton, who finished with 27 points. “When they went on runs I couldn’t hear. We couldn’t hear coach. We couldn’t hear ourselves on the floor so we had to use hand signals for the plays.”

While Iowa State was able to bounce back from that first 90-second stretch, the second stretch doomed them.

“We didn’t execute a couple things we were trying to run at the end,” said coach Steve Prohm. “We just gotta finish. It’s about execution, it’s about taking care of the ball, it’s about pace. There’s a lot of factors involved, but we had our chances.”

Iowa State was able to tie the game a number of times, but couldn’t grab a lead and hold onto it. The Cyclones tied it up seven times, but only led once.

In the end, of course, it’s tough to win when you only lead for nine seconds.

“We gotta keep growing, we gotta keep working,” Prohm said. “We’re gonna put our guys in adverse situations in practice… we just gotta keep standing. 0-4, 0-3, whatever it is, we just gotta keep standing, we gotta keep working and we’ll break through.”