After last week’s win over Baylor, Kansas head coach Bill Self when talking about freshman Andrew Wiggins mentioned that he leaves him “wanting more,” which was a compliment to the talent and potential of the high flying guard. On Wednesday night, Self got more for a second consecutive night, as Wiggins wowed a sellout crowd inside Allen Fieldhouse, pouring in 29 points, adding seven rebounds and providing many highlights, as the Jayhawks assumed complete control of the Big 12 championship race with a 92-81 win over Iowa State.
Wiggins broke his career high, set way back on Saturday in KU’s 91-69 win over TCU. The manner in which he did it was both show stopping and brutally efficient.
“I hope this one only last for three days. He shot the ball well tonight. He did a lot of good things. That was a big offensive put-back that he had late, and he played good, everybody played good,” Self said. “I think we had several possessions that weren't very bright because we should have got them inside the whole game; but we kind of got happy with shooting jumpers. When you go 10-for-22 from three, that's a pretty good percentage. I like how we played and minimized the wasted possessions. We did pretty good on the glass as well."
Early on, it seemed as if Wiggins’ heroics wouldn’t be needed, as Kansas (16-4, 7-0) raced out to a 30-14 lead halfway through the first half. Many teams inside Allen Fieldhouse are done at that point. However, Iowa State (15-4, 3-4) refused to succumb, scratching and clawing back into the game with good ball movement, hustle and the three point shot, which helped pull them to within three at halftime.
"They came out on fire. I've been in this building enough as a player, as a coach, as a scout and it happens pretty much every game. They come out and hit their shots early and you have to withstand those runs,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You have to give them a lot of credit, they do such a good job of jumping on you. You can't panic and we didn't. I give our guys credit for getting back in the game and cutting it to one late. They came back out in the second half and they were hitting shots. We had good looks, very good looks that we hit, especially the last 15 minutes of the first half, that we just didn't knock down.”
The Jayhawks would try to break the game open several times in the second half, but each time KU looked ready to run away, the Cyclones would fight back and would inch closer, getting as close as one with 4:30 to play.
The night though belonged to Wiggins, who helped clinch the game with six straight points, aided by a controversial flagrant foul call on Iowa State’s Dustin Hogue. The made free throws and ensuing possession and the greatness of Wiggins helped Kansas finish off Iowa State for the second time this season and behind four other Jayhawks in double figures, now move on to a big road test at Texas on Saturday.
“They're good. They are so athletic. I don't think we are going to play anyone more athletic than Texas all year long. They score as quickly as anyone on the perimeter,” Self said. “I think that will be a challenge for us. Rick (Barnes) has had them playing with a lot of confidence and they are playing with nothing to lose. When you think about if they are able to knock us off they are just one game out in the league race, so this will be a huge opportunity for us to put some distance between us and a couple of other teams. Hopefully we will go down there and give a great effort."