Five days after gagging away a 23-point second-half lead on the road in an eventual overtime loss to Texas Tech, No. 13 Iowa State built yet another huge lead -- this time at home against No. 8 Kansas on Saturday -- and separating itself by as many as 19 points. This time, however, the Cyclones kept their lead. Iowa State dominated Kansas 68-53 in a huge bounce-back spot, dealing Kansas its first-ever stretch in league play under Bill Self in which it has lost four games in a five-game span.
Iowa State led for more than 38 minutes and didn't trail except for in the first minute of action in an impressive two-way performance at home. Six different players added at least eight points in a balanced attack, and Kansas' 53 points were the fewest scored in a Big 12 game under Self. The Jayhawks got 26 points from Jalen Wilson but everyone else added just 27 points on 10-of-28 shooting.
Turnover trouble plagued Kansas once again in a fearsome matchup against an elite defense that proved too much. KU committed 20 turnovers and Iowa State finished with nine steals on the day, bolstering its already-strong havoc-wreaking defense that ranks No. 1 in forced turnover rate in college hoops.
Kansas had a rare three-game losing streak in league play in January with losses to Kansas State, TCU and Baylor before bouncing back first with a wins over Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and Kansas State. Another loss on the résumé makes its prospects of earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament more challenging and its chances of repeating as national champions seemingly more unrealistic. For much of the last month, Kansas has played inconsistent basketball.
With the win, Iowa State moves to a half-game within Texas atop of the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns are set take on a rebuilt Kansas State team in Manhattan, Kansas, later on Saturday. A loss for the Longhorns would create a three-way tie atop the league standings if TCU loses at Oklahoma State on Saturday. A Texas loss and a TCU win would make it a four-way tie.