On a cold Saturday afternoon in Ames, Kansas basketball picked up their third straight win and their second straight against Iowa State.
Kansas basketball’s matchup with the Cyclones yesterday proved to be more of a battle than their 33 point blowout just a couple of days ago. Another slow start and sloppy first half plagued the Jayhawks as they finished the first half tied with Iowa State at 24.
Buckets were extremely difficult to come by the first 20 minutes for Kansas as they battled a 12-minute scoring drought at one point. Iowa State committed 15 first-half turnovers — some credit to the Jayhawks’ defense even though plenty of them were unforced — which surely kept Kansas in it despite their poor shooting.
A bright spot for the Jayhawks was the excellent play of Jalen Wilson, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He helped Kansas come out to a much prettier second half as they jumped out to a 6 point lead, building a bit of separation from the Cyclones.
He showed much-improved aggressiveness and energy, which was much needed for Kansas. He was driving the ball, battling for rebounds, and making outside jumpers.
Wilson has looked significantly better than he did during his January slump, even garnering praise from head coach Bill Self, who commented on liking “everything” Wilson did today.
We also saw another solid outing from big man David McCormack, who finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
This was a game in which you could see the Jayhawks laboring a bit without McCormack on the floor at times. Mitch Lightfoot was able to fill in with some energy, but couldn’t quite fill in McCormack’s shoes from a scoring ability.
Even though the Jayhawks’ three wins this week have come against the bottom two Big 12 teams, this could be the boost Kansas needs entering a tough stretch to round out conference play.
Kansas will be back in action this week as they take on Kansas State before going against the gauntlet in their schedule that is Texas Tech, Texas, and Baylor.
If they can beat Kansas State and grab at least one or two upsets of the latter games, they may find themselves in a position to head into postseason play with some momentum. Even possibly working their way up the NCAA tournament seed line.