Ames, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - A marquee Big 12 Conference showdown is on tap for Monday night at Hilton Coliseum, as the Iowa State Cyclones play host to the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas suffered a 61-57 home loss to San Diego State on Jan. 5 in its final non-conference bout, but since then it has opened up Big 12 play with back-to- back wins at Oklahoma (90-83) and most recently at home versus nationally- ranked Kansas State on Saturday (86-60). The Jayhawks are now 11-4 overall but have won just one true road game in three tries.
Iowa State opened up the season with 14 straight wins, its best start in school history as well as its longest-ever winning streak, but its perfect campaign came to an end on Saturday afternoon at Oklahoma with an 87-82 setback to dip to 2-1 in league play. The Cyclones are still perfect at Hilton Coliseum (8-0) and have won 31 of their last 32 games in Ames dating back to the 2011-12 campaign.
The Jayhawks have a firm handle on the Cyclones in the all-time series, 174-59, which includes wins in all three outings last season.
Hosting their nationally-ranked intrastate rival over the weekend, Kansas made easy work of K-State, outshooting it from the field, 56.1 percent to 44 percent, en route to the 26-point victory. Andrew Wiggins paced all scorers with 22 points, doing so on 7-of-13 from the field (including 3-of-4 from 3- point range) and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Wayne Selden Jr. was hot on his heels with 20 points, Perry Ellis netted 12, Joel Embiid tallied 11 points and nine boards and Naadir Tharpe rounded out the balanced attack by handing out nine assists.
The Jayhawks' offense has been potent all season long, as they shoot greater than 50 percent from the field for 79.1 ppg, which is 10.4 ppg more than they allow on the other end of the floor. Wiggins may not be living up to the incredible preseason hype as one of the best incoming freshman in recent memory, but he's still in the midst of a stellar campaign with 15.7 ppg and 5.4 rpg. Fellow first-year player Embiid has manned the paint on both ends of the floor with 10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 2.4 bpg, all while shooting nearly 66 percent from the field. Ellis (13.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Selden (10.3 ppg) and Tharpe (8.0 ppg, 5.4 apg) round out one of the nation's best starting lineups.
After playing the first half of its most recent contest to a 39-39 tie, Iowa State fell behind Oklahoma by as many as 13 in the second stanza and could not climb back in the game. It shot an impressive 52.3 percent from the field in the win, but only 6-of-26 came from beyond the arc and it was outscored at the foul line, 18-8. DeAndre Kane was outstanding as usual with 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists, but left the game early with an ankle injury and is out indefinitely. Melvin Ejim poured in 21 points, while Georges Niang and Dustin Hogue scored 14 and 13, respectively.
The Cyclones have one of the country's most potent offensive attacks, ranking 11th in field-goal percentage (.495), 12th in 3-pointers per game (8.9) and sixth in scoring (86.7 ppg), but their production is bound to take a dip if Kane (16.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.1 apg) has to miss significant time. Luckily the squad still has plenty of impressive scorers to rely on, led by Ejim (18.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg), who shoots 52.1 percent from the field and 76.3 percent from the foul line. Niang (15.3 ppg) and Dustin Hogue (12.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg) bring regular contributions to the table, while Naz Long (8.4 ppg) will likely see increased minutes in the backcourt without Kane.