Basketball

STANZ: Cyclones come up one play short in Lawrence

Kansas redshirt junior forward Jalen Wilson (10) reacts after scoring over Iowa State and getting a foul during the first half of Saturday’s game inside Allen Fieldhouse. © Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

LAWRENCE — Iowa State came up one play short.

The Cyclones nearly did enough to win on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. T.J. Otzelberger‘s team didn’t play particularly well and didn’t shoot the ball well for the majority of the game.

They still nearly did enough to win.

Anyone who had questions about the validity of this Iowa State team’s success can likely put them to rest. How good is this team?

Good enough to go to Allen Fieldhouse, play poorly for significant stretches of the game and still have a chance to beat the No. 2 team in the country at the very end.

Iowa State was sunk on the second to last possession of the game when Kansas’ KJ Adams banked in a tough finish near the paint to seal the 62-60 final. The Cyclones had one last look but Caleb Grill‘s deep 3-pointer at the buzzer wasn’t close to the mark.

It was a loss, but nobody should be discouraged by this game. These Cyclones are very good. They simply came up one play short on Saturday in Lawrence.

“At the end of the day, it was a really good college basketball game,” Otzelberger said. “They made one more play than we did.”

Gabe Kalscheur did everything he could to get Iowa State over the finish line. He scored 23 points while shooting 7-of-16 from the field, 4-of-8 from 3-point range and grabbing six rebounds.

It was Kalscheur’s last 3-pointer of the game that tied the score at 60 with 35 seconds left. He knocked down tough shot after tough shot and made play after play on each end in trying to will his team to a win.

The Jayhawks just did enough. They usually do in this building.

“That was a high-level game,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “They’re good. They really guard. They had a great player have a good game. We had a terrific player have a terrific game. That was a great basketball game.”

The terrific player Self mentioned was freshman phenom Gradey Dick, who knocked down five 3-pointers on his way to a KU-leading 21 points on the afternoon.

Iowa State did a fine enough job to keep Dick under wraps for long stretches but had too many defensive lapses in key moments that led to some crucial shots down the stretch for the Jayhawks.

Dick knocked down three 3-pointers during the second half, and two of them tied the score at different points. The third gave the Jayhawks a 52-50 lead with 6:42 to play.

“Obviously, try to limit his attempts and when you can’t limit him, you want them to be highly contested,” Otzelberger said of the gameplan against Dick. “He’s got a great stroke. He shoots it well behind the line based on their ability to space the floor and move the basketball. That’s easier said than done. It’s a job that we had awareness of as a team, and we didn’t do as good of a job in that respect as we had hoped to do. He did a great job knocking down five.”

Iowa State may have won the game if Osun Osunniyi had not fouled out with just 1:02 left on the clock. The Cyclones’ 6-foot-10 center had been a game-changer defensively throughout the majority of the afternoon. He just couldn’t stay out of foul trouble.

In only 19 minutes on the court, Osunniyi scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting with six rebounds and three blocks. It was one of his best outings of the season coming off of an ankle injury suffered late in Iowa State’s win over Texas Tech on Tuesday.

Osunniyi spent the majority of the afternoon guarding Adams, and Cyclone fans will be left wondering if Iowa State could have gotten one more stop with their eraser at the rim out there for their last defensive possession.

He was one of the driving forces behind Iowa State being in the game at all at that point, especially when you consider the Cyclones shot only 38.3 percent from the field as a team.

“We stayed together through adversity,” Osunniyi said. “Kansas is a good team. They’re gonna go on runs, but no matter how loud the crowd gets, or what happens on offense, or defense, we had to stay together. I thought we did a good job of that.”

The hope now for Iowa State must be that the struggles felt by Grill, Robert Jones and Jaren Holmes were just a blip. That trio combined to shoot just 5-of-25 from the field against Kansas and score a combined 13 points.

Iowa State’s roster is much improved from a balance standpoint, but it can’t afford to have that kind of game from three of its most important offensive cogs.

This game is a perfect example of how still being elite defensively can carry Iowa State through some sticky situations. Kansas shot 46 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range and turned the ball over 12 times.

Iowa State out-rebounded the Jayhawks and held KU to only six offensive rebounds on the afternoon. Kansas didn’t even have an offensive rebound in the first half of the game.

No, Iowa State didn’t win the game, but they showed something to us all.

The Cyclones played one of their worst offensive games of the season, and still nearly had a chance to beat the No. 2 team in America on their own floor.

This team is good enough to play with and beat any team on any court in America when they’re playing well. They didn’t play very well on Saturday in Lawrence.

And still came up only one play short.

“I have a lot of respect for Coach Self. I have a lot of respect for their program. I have a lot of respect for how they do things,” Otzelberger said. “At the same time, I love my guys, I love their fight. I love their competitive spirit. We came up one play short, we’re going to learn from it, we’re going to be better for it, and we’re going to come together even more as a group as we move forward.”

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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