AMES, Iowa -Kansas made 7-of-its-first-8 shots of the second half to break open a close game in an 82-67 victory over Iowa State Saturday afternoon in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclone loss overshadowed an outstanding performance from Craig Brackins, who posted a career-high 42 points and grabbed 14 boards. His 42 points is the most ever scored by an ISU player against a KU team and is the fourth-best single-game scoring output in Cyclone history.
The loss drops ISU to 12-7 overall and 1-3 in Big 12 play, while the Jayhawks improve to 15-4 overall and 4-0 in conference action.
Kansas had some open looks and they knocked them down," ISU head coach Greg McDermott said. "We had open looks and didn't. We had some good looks at the basket, and just had another one of those days when we just couldn't shoot from the perimeter. Kansas is so efficient at getting points and starting out early. I'm proud of our effort."
Kansas raced out to a 15-5 lead behind nine points from Sherron Collins. The Cyclones battled back to cut the lead to 17-14 with 13:18 left in the first half. Brackins tallied three-point plays on three-straight Cyclone possessions, one the conventional way and the last two from long-range to help ISU get back into the game.
Collins continued his hot shooting, recording six points in a 12-5 KU run to push the Jayhawks back up by 10 points (29-19) with 7:49 left before intermission. The Cyclones stormed right back with six consecutive points. Justin Hamilton scored down low twice in the run to cut the deficit to 29-25 with 5:17 left before the half.
KU went into the break with a 44-38 lead after Brady Morningstar banked in a desperation shot at the buzzer. Collins had 18 points at the break for the Jayhawks, while Brackins tallied 22 of ISU's 38 points in the first half. It marks the fourth time this season where Brackins scored 19 or more points in a half this season.
KU started the second half by making 7-of-8 from the field to increase its lead to 58-44 with 14:57 left in the game. On the other end, ISU went cold, connecting on just 3-of-its-first-13 shots of the second period. Brackins had all nine of ISU's second-half points at the 11:00-minute mark of the second half. The Cyclones got their first field goal of the game from their backcourt when Sean Haluska scored a lay-up with 10:23 remaining to make it a 64-49 KU lead.
ISU managed to cut KU's 17-point second half lead down to single digits with a 13-2 run to close the gap to 66-60 with 6:33 left. Brackins buried a huge trey to cap off the run. Cole Aldrich ended the run with a dunk and Tyrel Reed and Collins followed with baskets on its next two possessions to push KU back up 73-60 with 3:40 left.
Brackins, who finished the game 11-of-19 from the field and 17-of-21 at the charity stripe, tied for fourth all-time in Big 12 history with his 42 points. His 17 free-throws made ties for fourth all-time on the school's single-game record charts.
"The sky's the limit for Craig," McDermott added. "He's got room to put on another 15 pounds of muscle to his frame. His defense has improved and offensviely he's added to his repertoire."
ISU is back in action on Tuesday, traveling to Colorado to face the Buffaloes. Tip-off is set for 9:30 p.m.