9:00 PM ET, January 13, 2014
Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa
The young Jayhawks are growing up -- and they're putting it together in time for another run through the Big 12.
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Tharpe scored a career-high 23 points on just nine shots, Wiggins had 17 points and a season-high 19 rebounds and No. 15 Kansas beat No. 8 Iowa State 77-70 on Monday night for its third straight win to open conference play.
"The thing about it is, if you have followed our team closely, you could make the case that this team probably enjoyed playing less than other teams we've had," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "But since we started conference play, they're having as much fun as any team we've ever had."
The Jayhawks had plenty of reasons to smile in perhaps their most impressive win of the season.
Embiid had 12 of his 16 points in the second half to go with five blocks for the Jayhawks (12-4, 3-0), who outrebounded Iowa State 53-36.
Kansas opened the second half with a 16-5 run and led the rest of the way, handing the Cyclones (14-2, 2-2) their second consecutive loss after a 14-0 start.
Iowa State doesn't start anyone taller than 6-foot-7, and its lack of size is threatening to become an issue.
"This is a couple of games in a row now where, probably the difference has been on the glass," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We were pretty good in the nonconference portion of the schedule. You don't want this to be a trend moving forward."
It wasn't all good news for Kansas either.
The Jayhawks committed 24 turnovers but they survived by shooting 49 percent from the field and dominating the glass.
"We handled the ball miserably. Looked like a third grade team out there offensively sometimes taking care of the ball. But we made up for it by being pretty good on the glass. It was a great win," Self said.
DeAndre Kane, who sprained an ankle in the loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, had 21 points for Iowa State, which lost to Kansas for the 17th time in 18 games.
The Cyclones, the Big 12's top 3-point shooting team, were a dreadful 4-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Kane, who led the Big 12 with 22.7 points, 6.3 assists and 3.3 steals through three league games, responded well enough to around-the-clock treatment on his left ankle that he has been able to start.
It didn't provide the early boost the Cyclones were looking for.
Kansas jumped all over Iowa State, rolling to a quick 15-4 lead less than 5 minutes in. But the Cyclones fought their way back to tie the game at 36-all on Kane's 3 at the halftime buzzer.
The Jayhawks started the second half the way they did the first. Perry Ellis extended their lead to 52-41 with a slam with 13:32 left, and Embiid wrapped two baskets around a blocked shot as Kansas went ahead 64-53.
Kane could have made it a one-possession game with under a minute left, but he missed a layup and Tharpe answered with two free throws.
Kane said his ankle was an issue -- and he was also kneed in the thigh with about 4 minutes left.
"I really couldn't cut and go change of pace. But that's no excuse. I played 37 minutes. I was out there enough. I just didn't do enough to help my team win," Kane said.
"We came out hard. We came out hungry," Wiggins said of his team's second-half surge.
Iowa State had longed for another crack at Kansas at home after the Jayhawks rallied for a contentious overtime win here last season.
But Iowa State's inability to knock down 3s they'd normally make was too much to overcome -- and Embiid and the Jayhawks confounded the Cyclones with their size and length.
"I think Embiid is the best player in the country," Hoiberg said. "He's huge. He's got great length. He can shoot, he's got incredible footwork and he's been playing the game for about two years."
AMES, IA - JANUARY 13: Guard Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks goes to the basket during the first half...(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||30-61 (.492)||22-70 (.314)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-16 (.313)||4-25 (.160)|
|FT Made-Attempted||12-19 (.632)||22-34 (.647)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||26 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
Big 12 Conference Standings
Entering Monday, Iowa State scored 30.7% of its points from the 3-point line, the most by any Big 12 team. The Cyclones were held to a season-low 4-of-25 (16%) shooting from deep.[+]
Iowa State 3-Pt Shooting, This Season
Andrew Wiggins grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds Monday, helping to lead to seven points in transition. Wiggins averaged 1.5 points per play in transition, most in the Big 12 (minimum 25 plays). Wiggins was held to just 3-of-10 (30%) shooting in half-court sets.[+]
Andrew Wiggins Shooting, This Season
Joel Embiid scored 12 of his 16 points after halftime. Embiid's five blocks also led the Jayhawk defense, which held Iowa State to a season-low 31.4% shooting Monday night. Embiid's 2.6 blocks per game are second in the Big 12 behind Baylor's Isaiah Austin.[+]
Joel Embiid by Half, Monday
Kansas's big men were held in check during the first half due to constant double teams from the Cyclones. However, the Jayhawks' trio of Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis made the most of their second-half chances.[+]
Touches Inside 3-Pt Line by Half
ESPN Stats & Information