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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Kansas 97, Iowa St. 89 (OT)

By Jason King


LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A few quick thoughts from Kansas' 97-89 overtime victory against Iowa State Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Overview: Bill Self has coached a lot of great players since taking over Kansas' program in 2003-04. But he has never had anyone quite like Ben McLemore. In one of the better performances in recent school history, McLemore scored 33 points to help the Jayhawks stave off a pesky Iowa State squad in overtime.

The Jayhawks looked well on their way to defeat, trailing by four with about 30 seconds remaining in regulation. But Kansas battled back and forced overtime when McLemore banked in a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1 second remaining to force a 79-79 tie.

McLemore then opened the extra period with another 3-pointer on Kansas' first possession, and the Jayhawks cruised from there. Kansas scored the first 11 points of overtime en route to the victory. The win was the 100th in the past 101 games for KU at Allen Fieldhouse. Had the Jayhawks lost, they would've been 0-1 in conference play for the first time since 1991.

Instead Bill Self's sixth-ranked squad improved to 13-1 overall and 1-0 in Big 12 action. Iowa State fell to 10-4 and 0-1. The Cyclones lost despite connecting on 14 3-pointers, while also converting two traditional three-point plays.

Star of the game: McLemore is the easy choice. Playing in just his 14th college game, the redshirt freshman wing went 10-of-12 from the field and 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. He also swished all seven of his foul shots. For good measure, McLemore snared three rebounds and blocked three shots.

Turning point: McLemore's 3 at the end of regulation obviously shifted momentum and sparked KU to victory. But Jayhawks point guard Elijah Johnson also came up huge when he scored on a coast-to-coast layup that narrowed ISU's bulge to 77-76 with 15.4 seconds left. A pair of foul shots by Cyclones guard Korie Lucious put Iowa State up 79-76 with 8.9 seconds left. McLemore scored on Kansas' ensuing possession to force overtime. McLemore scored 13 points in the final 6 minutes of regulation and added five more in the extra period.

Key stat: Kansas shot 50 percent from the field and outscored Iowa State 42-26 in the paint.

Observations: Kansas is still the heavy favorite to win the Big 12 title, but the championship may not come as easily as initially thought. Iowa State is obviously an excellent team. Kansas State and Oklahoma State have both proved salty in recent weeks and Baylor is the league's most talented team other than KU. The Bears, who visit Allen Fieldhouse on Monday, have played their best basketball of the season in recent weeks.

Miscellaneous: McLemore's game-tying 3-pointer came on the same play that KU used to get Mario Chalmers a shot in the 2008 NCAA title game against Memphis. Like McLemore, Chalmers made the basket to force the extra period, and the Jayhawks eventually won the championship. Wednesday's version of the play featured an extra handoff, but the end result was the same.

Up next: Iowa State hosts Texas on Saturday. Kansas travels to Texas Tech.