KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The third time wasn't a charm for Iowa State against No. 7 Kansas on Friday.
After the Jayhawks beat the Cyclones (22-11, 11-7 Big 12) in overtime twice during the regular season, they made it a three-game sweep in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Championship with a 88-73 victory.
The Jayhawks (28-5, 14-4) led by four at halftime, but a quick run out of the break carried them to victory. Iowa State was led by Georges Niang in the loss as the freshman scored 19 points.
When KU guard Travis Releford hit a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining in the first half, it pushed Kansas to a 35-31 halftime lead against Iowa State.
The 3-pointer gave the Jayhawks halftime momentum, and what could have been a one-point deficit quickly escalated out of the break as Kansas went on a 9-2 run in the first 2:30 of the second half to extend its lead to 11.
Perry Ellis — Kansas forward Perry Ellis was a spark off the bench in the Jayhawks' win, scoring 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting to go along with six rebounds. While Iowa State kept the KU stars in check, it struggled to contain Ellis in the loss.
Ellis entered the game Friday averaging 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for Kansas in 32 games this season.
By the Numbers
14 — Iowa State turned the ball over 14 times in the loss, with eight coming in the first half for the Cyclones.
27.3 — The Cyclones shot 9-of-33 from beyond the arc for a 27.3 shooting percentage on 3-pointers.
1,011 — With his 17-point performance Friday, ISU junior forward Melvin Ejim passed 1,000 points in his career. Ejim is the 30th player in ISU history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
"With Travis making that 3, he missed a couple of them early, but he wasn't scared to shoot it, and I felt like it was set up for that one to go in. It was a big momentum boost to go into the locker room with energy, pumped up and just come out and feed off of that." — Kansas' Elijah Johnson on Travis Releford's 3-pointer before halftime to give the Jayhawks a 35-31 lead.
"We put ourselves in a position to be playing very meaningful games at this time. Our backs were against the wall last week. We felt we needed to get three more wins. And I give our guys a lot of credit for responding and going and get a big win against Oklahoma State, get a great win on the road against West Virginia, and then a huge win yesterday against Oklahoma." — ISU coach Fred Hoiberg on the way Iowa State played in the last two weeks.
"They outrebounded us on the glass, and they really got a lot of those 50/50 balls. We just weren't able to get those stops. We needed to get those rebounds and get those loose balls." — ISU forward Melvin Ejim on Kansas' physical play on Friday night.
"The game plan was stuff we talked about all the time with our keys, is to take care of the basketball and control the glass. We talked about that every game as being the keys to us achieving the win. And we didn't do a good job of that. Again, 14 turnovers, only ten assists, get out-rebounded by 10, and that's not good enough against a great team like Kansas." — Hoiberg on his team's game plan entering the third game this season with Kansas.