Despite a scare from Iowa State, the Kansas Jayhawks opened up conference play with a thrilling win in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday night. This marks the 31st consecutive home win for Kansas and its 100th out the last 101 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
Despite the success at home, the Cyclones did not allow that to intimidate them and gave the Jayhawks a run for their money.
Iowa State forward Georges Niang scored the first eight points for Iowa State to help give the Cyclones an early 8-3 lead fouled out with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.
The help of freshman guard Ben McLemore, who finished with a season-high 33 points, lifted the Jayhawks in the first half. Kansas held a narrow four-point lead at halftime and were challenged by the Cyclones in the second half.
Iowa State either led or tied Kansas in the final 15 minutes of the game. Iowa State guard Tyrus McGee sank a deep three with 4:02 remaining to silence Allen Fieldhouse and take a six-point lead.
But Allen Fieldhouse didn’t remain silent for long.
McLemore, who made all seven free throws and all six shots from beyond the arc against Iowa State, banked a three basket one second to go in regulation to force the game into overtime.
Kansas concluded the second half after a 12-6 run in the final four minutes of regulation.
McLemore helped the Jayhawks draw first blood by scoring a three early in overtime. Since then, the Jayhawks never looked back. They held the Cylcones with two minutes and 50 seconds before Korie Lucious made a jumper.
However, it was too late for Iowa State as Kansas had a nine-point lead after Lucious’ shot and went on to win, 97-89.
Kansas learned how to overcome adversity at home against a competitive Iowa State team. On top of that, McLemore, Jamari Traylor, and Perry Ellis, all freshmen who played their first Big 12 game, now have a good understanding of what it is like to play in a highly bloodthirsty conference.
The Jayhawks have won the last eight regular season conference titles and look to snag another this season.
Although conference play started off rough, Bill Self’s Jayhawks managed to pull away with a win. Nonetheless, the road for the ninth straight Big 12 title is off to a good start.