Cyclones hang tough with 12th-ranked Jayhawks
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Malik Newman scored a career-high 27 points, Svi Mykhailiuk added 23 and No. 12 Kansas staved off an upset bid by Iowa State, pulling away in the closing minutes for an 83-78 victory Tuesday night.
Devonte Graham added 11 points for the Jayhawks (13-3, 3-1 Big 12), most of those coming in crunch time, when he shook off a 1-for-11 start from the field to knock down three big jumpers.
Lindell Wigginton had 27 points and Donovan Jackson scored 20 for the Cyclones (9-6, 0-4), whose four straight losses — including back-to-back overtime defeats — have come on the heels of nine straight wins.
Cameron Lard added 15 points and 10 rebounds, though he also had seven of the Cyclones’ 17 turnovers. Nick Weiler-Babb contributed 13 points, 10 boards and eight assists.
The game was tied 73-all with 3 1/2 minutes left, but Newman blocked Jackson’s shot to create a run-out for Kansas at the other end. Iowa State proceeded to turn it over on its next three possessions, and the Jayhawks converted two of them into easy baskets to put the game away.
It was the Jayhawks’ 12th win over Iowa State in their last 13 tries at Allen Fieldhouse.
It was also in question for 35-plus minutes.
The Jayhawks spent the first half settling for long, contested 3-pointers — they shot 24 of them and had just 10 attempts from inside the arc. They also kept breaking down on defense, and when they did manage an easy basket, a flub prevented them from stringing enough together to get the crowd into the game.
The young Cyclones, perhaps the only Big 12 team with less depth than Kansas, had Wigginton to thank for never trailing by more than eight points over the first 20 minutes.
The high-scoring freshman guard from Canada had 16 points in the first half, and they came from just about everywhere. He knocked down a 3-pointer, got to the foul line and was money on pull-up jumpers, his ability to knock down the 15-footer causing the Jayhawks fits.
It was one of those jumpers that gave the Cyclones their first lead early in the second half.
Udoka Azubuike responded with a dunk, though, and the Newman converted a three-point play to start the Jayhawks’ first big run. Newman turned a turnover into a dunk, and after another turnover, Lagerald Vick threw down an alley-oop slam as Kansas pulled ahead 49-42, prompting a Cyclones timeout.
Iowa State kept answering every time the Jayhawks went on another run, but it was Newman’s breakout performance and Graham’s poise down the stretch that yielded one run too many.
Iowa State squandered a soft start to league play in losses to Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State, but could have made up for it by beating Kansas. Instead, the Cyclones showed they’re good enough to compete but not quite good enough to win just yet.
Kansas was coming off a tough road win over TCU, and for a while it appeared the Jayhawks had taken Iowa State lightly. They came up with crucial stops on defense in the closing minutes to prevent the upset, but also showed the same cracks that have been evident all season.
Iowa State returns home to face Baylor on Saturday.
Kansas plays rival Kansas State on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP–Top25
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.