Hilton Coliseum finally worked its Magic on Kansas, as the No. 9 Jayhawks fell to No. 11 Iowa State on Saturday night, 86-81.
Naz Long paced the Cyclones with 20 points, leading six players in double-figures. Monte Morris added 10 points, 10 assists, seven boards and three steals while Georges Niang chipped in with 15 points, five boards and five assists.
Kansas got 21 points from Frank Mason Jr. in a losing effort.
Iowa State’s win means that the Cyclones are now tied with the Jayhawks in the Big 12 standings at 3-1, a half-game behind Kansas State, who sits all alone in first place. If Kansas is going to have their decade-long Big 12 title streak snapped, this is going to be the season that it happens, which is what makes this win so important for the Cyclones.
It goes beyond the fact that they, you know, actually beat the program that is the face of the Big 12 on the day they hosted Gameday, or that they finally shook off the curse that had been plaguing them in games against the Jayhawks in recent seasons. All of that will matter to fans and to recruits and to people that are going to spin this story into some kind of narrative about the Iowa State season.
And I get it.
But what really matters here is that the Cyclones, playing in one of just two conferences with a double round-robin league schedule, just picked up a win over the the team that is the favorite to win the title. For Iowa State to be Big 12 champs, this was a must-win game, and they won it.
As far as what actually happened on the court, Iowa State demoralized Kansas in transition, getting far too many layups as they beat the Jayhawks down the floor after made baskets. Credit the Jayhawks for continuing to compete until the final whistle, but in the end they simply could not complete their comeback; Iowa State countered too many Kansas baskets with layups of their own.
We know what the Cyclones are going to do at this point — they play fast, they try to exploit mismatches, they invert their offense and take advantage of Niang’s skill set and they make a lot of threes. When things get rolling for them the way they were on Saturday, they are going to be a very difficult team to beat, especially when they play at home.