Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
No. 2 Kansas Overcomes Hilton Magic for 17th Straight Win
By MIKE McCURRY
With Frank Mason dealing with a bothersome knee and Josh Jackson struggling to get into a rhythm due to foul trouble, No. 2 Kansas needed more than its two leading scorers on Monday in order to avoid losing at Hilton Coliseum for the third consecutive season.
The rest of the Jayhawks got the message. Landen Lucas had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Svi Mykhailiuk dropped 13 (including three three-pointers), and Carlton Bragg added 10 points and 6 rebounds in a 76-72 win over Iowa State.
Following a season-opening loss to Indiana in Hawaii, Kansas has reeled off 17 straight victories, which matches its fourth longest streak under head coach Bill Self.
The Jayhawks have also now started out 6-0 in Big-12 play for the sixth time in the last nine seasons.
Kansas was able to overcome Hilton Magic, as well as 18 turnovers, by dominating the interior. KU outscored Iowa State 52-28 in the paint while outrebounding the Cyclones 41-24.
Iowa State may employ one of the most experienced and battle-tested starting lineups in the country, but just one of those five seniors (6-foot-8 Darrell Bowie) stands above 6-foot-5.
As a result, the 6-foot-5 Deonte Burton was often paired up down low with Lucas or Bragg, both of whom are 6-foot-10. A simple lob thrown over the fronting Burton was often all it took for Kansas’ bigs to either score themselves or at least send the Cyclones into scramble mode.
Burton got his offensively, finishing with 21 points, but it required 21 shots to get there.
Preseason Big-12 Player of the Year Monte Morris went bonkers once again, finishing with 23 points on only 15 shots plus 7 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals. Shockingly, the 6-foot-3 guard coughed up the rock three times—he had turned the ball over twice combined in his previous seven contests.
Mason, the other feted point guard in this game, was massaging his right knee during the halftime break and early in the second half. He still ended up with 16 points and 6 rebounds despite going scoreless for a 13-minute, 26-second span in the second half.
Between that elongated drought from the legitimate National Player of the Year candidate and a lousy performance from Josh Jackson—the freshman wound up fouling out after hitting just 3 of 11 shots, as opponents are beginning to respect his jumper less and less—it’s remarkable that Kansas won as easily as it did. That speaks volumes to the rapid improvement of the Jayhawks’ role players, in particular Mykhailiuk and Lucas.
KU should have no trouble extending its winning streak to 18 on Saturday against Texas.
After that, it gets very real in the form of a brutal three-game stretch: at West Virginia, at Kentucky, and home versus Baylor.
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