In the final home game for Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Hunter Mickelson and Evan Manning, the Jayhawks held off an early scare to defeat the Cyclones, 85-78.
Emotions were on full display as Kansasâ€™ four seniors; Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Hunter Mickelson and Evan Manning were each introduced in front of the juiced Allen Fieldhouse crowd on Saturday. Theyâ€™ve definitely had their fair share of memories in the Phog. Most of them have only seen the Jayhawks lose once at home throughout their respective careers.Â However, they were going to need a lot of juice to contain the Cyclones of Iowa State on Saturday afternoon in Lawrence. Â In 2013, the Jayhawks needed aÂ Â Ben McLemore three to hang on against Iowa State. Todayâ€™s game wasÂ no exception for the Jayhawks, whichÂ ultimately held on for an 85-78 victory on Senior day.
Kansas and Iowa State opened Senior Day at the Phog by trading blows. The Jayhawks led 11-10 in the opening minutes, but the teams exchanged leads quickly. Wayne Selden drained a deep three to grow the Jayhawk lead, but Georges Niang demanded attention, scoring an easy bucket for two on the other end of the floor. Kansas jumped out to a 19-13 lead, but Iowa State quickly closed the gap and tied it up on a 6-0 run. It was beginning to become the Georges Niang show for the Cyclones. He would score 12 of the Cyclones first 22 points and Ellis would drop eight of Kansasâ€™ first 22.
Kansas would halt Niang momentarily, as he picked up a quick foul. With Niang benched, Iowa State would go on to take the lead even without their superstar. With big plays by Wayne Selden and Cheick Diallo, KU was able to regain the lead, 31-26. Selden at this point was all business, scoring eight points and grabbing two rebounds with just over five to play in the first half. Jameel McKay made his presence felt scoring nine of Iowa Stateâ€™s next 11 points keeping themselves within two possessions from Kansas. There was no hot shooting for either team during most of the half; Kansas shooting about 40 percent, and Iowa State 48. It seemed as if the Jayhawks werenâ€™t as explosive as their thrashing in Austin. Monteâ€™ Morris was scoreless throughout the half until he banged in a three pointer as the horn sounded. Iowa State had slowly crept behind the Jayhawks, ending the half trailing only by one, 36-37. Georges Niang might have started the half for the Cyclones, but Jameel McKay had ended it with 15 points. Kansas forced six turnovers in the first half, but wasnâ€™t able to capitalize on many of the opportunities.
Iowa State opened up the second half with a Jameel McKay jam, continuing their first half momentum.Â The Cyclones took their halftime momentum into the second half.Â The Jayhawks thenÂ got off to a small run themselves. The theme of this game proved to be spurts and runs. Iowa State would then cut the Kansas lead to two, and once again was it a dogfight in the Phog. With offensive productivity from Kansas, KU was able to clip a seven point lead over the Cyclones.Â History has shown thatÂ itâ€™s only a matter of time until surging opponents are going to wilt in the historic arena. Iowa State did just that, falling behind by seven. They didnâ€™t wilt for long, because without hesitating, Iowa State had cut the lead to one with ten minutes left on the clock. It didnâ€™t take long for the Cyclones to completely shift the momentum, grabbing a four point lead behind a Burton three. Kansas hadnâ€™t scored a bucket for four minutes, and it couldâ€™ve used one badly. Devonte’ Graham did his best Steph Curry impression on the following possession, nailing a huge 27-foot jumper. The trading of the blows continuedÂ asÂ Iowa State took their lead to three with five minutes left, and Georges Niang had 22 points by that point. Kansas was lagging behind the Cyclones. Unshaken, the Jayhawks were able to rebalance, mounting an 11-0 run on Steve Prohmâ€™s Cyclones. With just a minute left, KU had taken full control of the game. They would control their lead for the rest of the game. Kansas would go on to win 85-78, grabbing their 40th straight home win. Perry Ellisâ€™ final game in Allen Fieldhouse ended with 22 points and seven rebounds. Georges Niang lead the Cyclones with 22 points and five rebounds.
A bittersweet farewell
There will be countless memories of Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Hunter Mickelson, and Evan Manning throughout the coming years in Lawrence. The impact of Perry Ellis in all four years of his career was so valuable for the program and the university, and Saturday’sÂ bittersweet farewell closes a chapter for four Jayhawks who will be missed.
Kansas and Iowa State: rivals?
Iowa State and Kansas is becoming a rivalry. Iowa State outlasted Kansas last year in Kansas City for the Big 12 Championship, and the CyclonesÂ beat KUÂ earlier this year in Ames. In fact, the Jayhawkâ€™s last loss came atÂ the hands of the Cyclones. Even though Kansas has controlled at home, every game between these programs is enjoyable.
- Perry Ellis: 22 points (9/19 FG), seven rebounds, and 30 minutes in his Allen Fieldhouse finale. He finishes his career with an incredible 61-2Â record in Lawrence.
- Jamari Traylor: eight points (4/6 FG) and three steals in 18 minutes. Iowa State is a challenging matchup for Landen Lucas, so Traylor stepped in and played very well.
- Devonte’ Graham: 16 points (6/11 FG, 4/8 from three), three assists, and four rebounds in 32 minutes.Â He buried a dagger three that nearly made the roof blow off of Allen Fieldhouse.
- Wayne Selden: 16 points (6/13 FG) and four assists in 31 minutes. A horrid night at the line (1/4) dipped his free throw percentage in conference play under 50%, but otherwise, it was the sharpest outing for Selden since the Kentucky game.
- Frank Mason: nine points (4/7 FG), five assists, and three rebounds in 32 minutes. He is the rock-solid motor of this KU team.
- Landen Lucas: six points (3/4 FG) in 20 minutes. He tied with Ellis for the team lead in rebounds with seven.
- Hunter Mickelson (10 minutes) and Evan Manning (career-high six minutes) didn’t score, but theyÂ both played solid defense when they played.
- Brannen Greene: four points, all of which were free throws in the last minute of the game. He iced the victory for Kansas.
- Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg both made a basket in limited minutes.
- Georges Niang led Iowa State with 22 points. It was likely the last Ellis-Niang duel, and the two took over the game at a point in the second half.
- Jameel McKay had 17 points in the first half, but KU’s defense limited him to just two after intermission. He still had a great line: 19 points and nine rebounds.
- Kansas shot 48% from the floor, 40% from three, and 60% from the line. After going 1/5 from the free throw line in the first half, the Jayhawks made eight of their last 10 attempts.
- Iowa State: 47% from the floor, 36% from three, 86% from the line.
- 32 straight wins for the Jayhawks on Senior Day, and 40 consecutive wins at Allen Fieldhouse. Both are the longest respective streaks in the country.
- Up next for KU: the winner of the Kansas State/Oklahoma State Big 12 tournament contest. Tip-off is at 1:30 pm on Thursday, March 10, in Kansas City.