Kansas defeats Iowa State, 83-77

  • 6 p.m., Feb. 13, 2018
  • Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Reinvigorated: Jayhawks back to old starting 5 in win at Iowa State

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, right, is congratulated by his teammates after a string of buckets during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, right, is congratulated by his teammates after a string of buckets during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.


AMES, IOWA — On Monday afternoon, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said he knew what his struggling Jayhawks needed to be successful again.

On Tuesday night, his team proved him right.

With Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman both back in the starting lineup, the KU starters played the lion's share of the minutes in Hilton Coliseum (162 of 200), scoring all but eight points to lead Kansas to a tough, 83-77 road victory over Iowa State.

The fact that Newman (17 points on 6-of-10 shooting) and Vick (16 points also on 6-of-10 shooting) played arguably their best games of the Big 12 season was more than a bonus.

Both were must-have efforts that made up for rough shooting nights by seniors Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte' Graham, who combined to shoot 6 of 26 from the floor in the Kansas victory.

All five starters cracked double digits in scoring in this one — Udoka Azubuike, in 22 minutes, dropped in 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting, and Svi Mykhailiuk tallied 10 in 36 minutes — but KU's leading scorer finished fourth in Tuesday night's final box score. Asked how it felt to pick up some of the slack for Graham's off night, Newman spoke with the pride of a veteran.

“Devonte', he's been great for us this season,” Newman said of the KU senior who played his ninth consecutive 40-minute game on Tuesday. “We rely on him to do a lot of things, so for him to go 3 for 16 tonight and us be able to put him on our backs for a change and not have him carry us and come out with a ‘W,’ it's just big. It just speaks to how good our team can actually be when everything's clicking and we've got great attitudes.”

Improved attitudes were what led to Newman and Vick being back in the starting lineup on Tuesday night. Self never has been one to make too much of who starts a game, but it was clear on Tuesday that it meant something to watch his two hot-and-cold scorers deliver on game night what they had brought in practice of late.

“I actually thought they tried to guard and their energy level was better,” Self said.

Added Graham: “I think they did a good job of responding to (Self's recent criticisms) today. But it's a continuous grind and you have to do it in practice each and every day, and definitely in a game. But today, they definitely responded.”

The lasting image of this one might very well have been Newman shushing the Iowa State student section with one finger over his mouth after draining a jumper that hit the bottom of the net as the shot clock expired and put 13th-ranked KU (20-6 overall, 9-4 Big 12) up 81-72 with 46 seconds to play.

Newman could not have known it at the time, but that bucket, which proved to give Kansas more than enough to emerge victorious, almost became a mere footnote in the final minute, as Iowa State (13-12, 4-9) trimmed a KU lead that was as large as 13 points with 4:46 to play down to as few as four in the game's final 30 seconds. This was thanks largely to a handful of missed free throws by Graham and Vick.

Asked if he expected ISU to make that kind of push late, Self said, “probably,” before adding, “I didn't expect us to play like we've never been coached a day this year for sure. I didn't expect Devonte' to miss three out of four (free throws), and Lagerald's a good free-throw shooter and misses a front end. It wasn't that we turned it over. It's just that we just didn't make our free throws.”

Kansas was far from perfect in the first half, and from the start, the game had that grind-it-out feel that KU's recent home win over TCU had.

But after an ugly start that produced a bunch of fouls and some serious frustration from the bench for Self, the Jayhawks settled in and started to battle.

It wasn't that the basketball got much prettier. But the effort did, and KU's play-hard mentality started producing.

“I just thought we played so poorly to start the game,” Self admitted. “I mean, awful. We were lucky that the game was close when they had us down six or so early. We're lucky it wasn't 12 or 14.”

At one point, after falling behind 17-11 early, the Jayhawks ripped off a 10-2 run to take a 21-19 lead. That run eventually grew to 16-4, and Kansas built a 6-point lead (27-21) before Iowa State responded to recapture a 1-point lead of its own.

With Silvio De Sousa on the floor for the final 2:44 of the first half — and Sam Cunliffe for the final 1:13 — the Jayhawks outscored the Cyclones, 12-6, in the final few minutes of the first half to take a 39-34 lead into the locker room.

In just under three minutes, De Sousa scored three points and grabbed three rebounds, two on the offensive end for a plus-four on the stat sheet.

That set the tone for the second half in which Kansas never trailed and Vick and Newman played with more confidence by the minute.

Self called Vick's three 3-pointers during the early portion of the second half “the biggest stretch of the game,” and Iowa State never was able to find its rhythm while playing from behind.

Kansas did, however, and remained one game back of Texas Tech in the Big 12 standings with five games remaining.

One strong game certainly does not mean everything that has ailed the Jayhawks during recent weeks is fixed. But it did serve as a positive sign that Newman and Vick both get it and that the KU chemistry is coming back.

“If you've studied our team, when we've played our best, our five best players have been playing well,” Self said. “So we need to get our five best players playing well.”

Tuesday night was certainly a step in that direction. Next up, a rematch with West Virginia at 5 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, where ESPN's “College GameDay” will set up camp for the day.

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Iowa State 77

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Iowa State 77


Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 8 months ago

Great win, boys! It'll be interesting to see Dok + Silvio on the floor at the same time. I mean, more than 3 minutes!! Welcome back, Vick!!

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Vick-tory!!

2] With as much time as Devonte has played, KU owes him another scholarship.

3] Silvio looking less lost.

4] KU..thank you, thank you, thank you....Iowa resident Bryce can lord it over his neighbors.

5] Iowa State is going to be good next year. Too bad, because KU is going to be great!!

6] Missed shot streak...Svi you later!

7] God Almighty, just wait till Dok actually learns how to play basketball!!!!!

8] OU & WV sucking on the road sets up showdown at Texas Tech...Raiders see red!!

9] I had to go back to the game tape to verify that Sam actually was in the game!

10] 20-6, Top 13, second place in toughest conference, God we suck!! :}

Allan Olson 3 years, 8 months ago

There's at least 4 Jayhawks who have been rode hard this conference season. They play in a generally perimeter oriented, 4-guard offense and do not shoot tons of lay ups or free throws. No wonder fatigue sets in from minutes played and so many high stress, crucial games. I think Dok really stepped up last night with some important points and defense. For any significant tournament run, all three big men must avoid the slap and bump fouls, and some ill-advised charging foul attempts. Maybe, there could be some time off by just a won and done in the BIG12 tournament. Any more wins there are likely meaningless for seeding advantages by now.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

Even if we don't win the Big 12, at least we got a regular season sweep of the Big 12 team I hate the most - Iowa State.

Have you ever noticed how ISU's school colors are the same as McDonald's and Casey's? Because those are the only jobs ISU graduates are qualified for, and the only ones an ISU diploma is worth.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

WOW, Bryce...tell us how you really feel! :).

Pius Waldman 3 years, 8 months ago

Well hope the rest of the day brings you at least a little happiness.

Brad Farha 3 years, 8 months ago

Ouch Bryce! Give them some credit -- they are members of the Association of American Universities, just like Kansas and Texas.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 8 months ago

There are plenty of reasons to dis ISU, but job placement is not one of them.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 8 months ago

Casey's pizza is pretty damn good though! I'm in Omaha and drive all over Iowa and I smile when I see a Casey's sign around mealtime!

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

It depends on the Casey's. Some of them have super greasy pizza that gives me a bad case of the skitters. Others, like the one in the Iowa town I now live in, make excellent pizza.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Did something bad happen in Iowa that you don't want to talk about?

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

No. But I've seen the way ISU fans act (throwing things at our players and hurling racial slurs at Elijah Johnson in 2013), I've seen the way their players act (spiking the ball on the Allen Fieldhouse court in 2000, picking fights with our players in 2003 and 2006), and they have a history of jackass coaches like Johnny Orr, Tim Floyd, and Larry Eustachy.

Bill Lamson 3 years, 8 months ago

I've been pretty critical of Self lately but he deserves some credit here for the lineup switches he's made recently. Great call to go with the original starters today...he obviously saw something in them during practice that made them deserve to start, and I'm sure some of that is a result of Self's coaching, so I'm very glad to see Vick and Newman playing better. And it was great to see Sam on the floor too!! It seems like he's capable of contributing much more if given the chance so hopefully his minutes increase. I also like how we've been making more of an effort to drive to the basket rather than settle for 3's. Newman has done a 180 on his ability to finish at the rim..awesome, and Vick was doing it last night also (though I can't believe he doesn't get called for carrying more often) You can tell Svi has been trying all year and continues to work on it, so I think that will bode well as we get into tourney time.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 8 months ago

I second your positive comment on the lineup and driving effort, Bill. It was so frustrating to watch Dok ready to jump but not getting the ball after a pick and roll or a dribble drive in previous games. They can still get better offensively once they develop instinct to score than to play it safe. The result of playing together is so much better as we saw yesterday.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

Great post, Bill. You need to remain a regular.

To me, the biggest takeaways from the game are that 1) KU has to be "spreading the wealth" to be successful, and 2) Dok can play with fouls. With all 5 starters in double figures and Dok getting 19 points in 22 minutes, opponents have a hard time trying to figure out what to stop.

Time will tell if they can continue this format, but kudos to Coach Self and the staff for shaking things up a bit to get an impressive road win.

Armen Kurdian 3 years, 8 months ago

Coach Self always says he doesn't mind errors of commission, just those of omission. The team played with energy for 40 minutes, which is very hard when you only play 7, and two of your starters play the whole game.

i think Graham and Svi are just getting tired and worn down, that's probably why DG missed those free throws. He still ran the offense really well, especially when getting Vick open to nail those threes.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Hated seeing us almost give up the lead late in the game but throughout the first half and 15 minutes of the 2nd half, Kansas looked like Kansas.

We have won road games against West Virginia and Iowa State, usually, the two toughest places for Kansas to win. At 6-2, we are the best road team in the BIG 12 which may be really big for us in the NCAA tournament.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

Correct, Marius. That's probably why KU is currently projected as a "2" seed in the NCAA, even though TTU is leading the conference. However, if TTU finishes first, then KU will drop to at best a "3" seed.

Ultimately, it will likely come down to the rematch in Lubbock. KU needs to avenge the loss at AFH to stay in the picture.

I hope that Coach Self is able to stick with the formula that was successful in Ames. The most formidable team is Dok and the four guards.

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