LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- In just a few unforgettable hours, Drew
Gooden and his Kansas teammates became No. 1 in the country, played
one of their finest games of the season and cut down the nets as
Big 12 champions.
"I don't think I could be any happier than I am today," said
Gooden, who scored 26 points and led the top-ranked Jayhawks to a
102-66 rout of Iowa State on Monday night.
"This is really wonderful."
Kansas (24-2, 13-0 Big 12), playing its first game since
replacing Duke atop the poll, got huge efforts from its
trio of post players -- Gooden, Nick Collison and Wayne Simien -- en
route to a 49-25 halftime lead. Collison finished with 16 points
and Simien with 15, giving them a combined 57.
Afterward, the Jayhawks carefully cut down part of the net --
leaving a few strings intact lest they show any disrespect to their
three remaining opponents, Nebraska, Kansas State and Missouri.
Although their first Big 12 title in four years is practically a
cinch, they actually clinched a tie.
"We thought about (whether to cut down the nets) it a great
deal," said coach Roy Williams, who pulled his starters with about
6 minutes to go.
"We just got part of the conference championship. We didn't
want to show any disrespect to Nebraska, Kansas State and Missouri.
Hopefully, they'll see it that way.
"But you're supposed to enjoy college basketball."
Iowa State (11-16, 3-10), the two-time defending Big 12
champion, dropped to 0-9 on the road while suffering coach Larry
Eustachy's most lopsided loss ever. Eustachy is also virtually
guaranteed his first losing season in 13 years as a head coach.
"I told Roy I appreciate him taking out his superstars and
putting in his stars because this could have been 150," Eustachy
said. "They are a real, real solid team and as well coached as any
team that I have seen in a long time."
Gooden, who scored a season-low 11 points the previous game
while battling the flu, was 8-of-9 in the first half and got a
put-back on his lone miss. The Big 12's scoring and rebounding
leader made dunks, tip-ins, feathery follow shots and fallaway
jumpers and was just one rebound short of his 20th double-double.
"I'm feeling a little better. This was nice," Gooden said.
"It was a lot of fun."
The Jayhawks, who came into the game leading the nation in
scoring (92.4) and field goal percentage (51.6), hit 63 percent
(45-of-72) and cracked the 100-point mark for a team-record ninth
time this season while winning their 12th in a row.
Early in the second half, Iowa State went almost 6 minutes
without a field goal as the Jayhawks unleashed a 14-0 run and
brought a constant roar from the sellout crowd of 16,300 while
seizing a 66-34 lead.
"They were unbelievable," Iowa State's Jake Sullivan said.
"Drew and Nick were really on top of their game tonight. They just
beat us in every way possible. We couldn't stop them early, and
before you knew it, the game was over."
Iowa State's Omar Bynum, who made 15 of his previous 16 shots
coming in, was 4-for-4 before finally missing. He finished 5-of-7
for 13 points. Sullivan had 14 for the Cyclones, and Shane Power
and Jared Homan each had 11.
With the crowd on its feet, reserve Chris Zerbe hit a free throw
with 49 seconds left to give the Jayhawks 100 points.