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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tournament champion Jayhawks atop Big 12 once again

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pushes the ball up the court after coming away with a steal during the first half, Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pushes the ball up the court after coming away with a steal during the first half, Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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Kansas City, Mo. — The intensity and atmosphere inside Sprint Center hit a new high for this year’s Big 12 tournament Saturday night, as top-seeded Kansas and always-pesky West Virginia put on a championship-worthy show in front of the pro-KU crowd.

With their senior leader and a freshman big man propelling them, the Jayhawks prevailed 81-70 for the program’s 11th Big 12 tournament crown.

KU point guard Devonte’ Graham took over late after freshman backup forward Silvio De Sousa kept his team afloat.

De Sousa came through with the best game of his young career, and his first college double-double, providing 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

Malik Newman (20 points, six rebounds) led Kansas in scoring once again, earning the Big 12 tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, while Graham went for 18 points and 13 assists.

Lagerald Vick (10 points, five rebounds) and Svi Mykhailiuk (16 points) also finished in double figures as the Jayhawks improved to 27-7 headed into next week’s NCAA Tournament.

Graham also made the Big 12’s all-tournament team, as did WVU’s Jevon Carter (17 points, nine assists) and Daxter Miles Jr. (25 points). Kansas State’s Makol Mawien was the fifth member of the all-tourney team.


Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: The Big 12 Player of the Year took over in the second half.

The Mountaineers couldn’t find defensive stops in the final 20 minutes, and that had as much to do with Graham giving his best performance of the tournament as anything.

After a two-point first half (Graham also dished six assists and only committed one turnover) KU’s senior leader got rolling in the second half once he made his first 3-pointer of the night with 13:28 to play.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self and All-Big 12 tournament performers Malik Newman and Devonte' Graham on KU's 2018 title

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, as well as All-Big 12 tournament honorees Malik Newman and Devonte' Graham, explain how the Jayhawks emerged from a heated conference title game as 81-70 victors over West Virginia.

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What followed was a classic performance from an all-time great KU guard, as the senior from Raleigh, N.C., totaled 16 second-half points and distributed seven assists with the postseason title on the line.

WVU led as late as the 8:27 mark of the second half. But Graham pushed the Jayhawks past the tough-minded Mountaineers.


• Offensive highlight: A prep basketball player just a few months ago, De Sousa ran like Mitch Lightfoot and finished like Udoka Azubuike on a fast break that closed out KU’s first half.

Graham sprinted out to the wing as Newman secured a defensive rebound and spotted the point guard for an outlet pass.

As Graham pushed the ball hard down the right side of the floor, De Sousa sprinted down the middle, pointing toward the rim to let his guard know where to meet him with a pass.

Of course, Graham put it on the money, and De Sousa delivered a monstrous, two-handed jam. The freshman headed to the locker room with 10 points in 13 minutes, and the Jayhawks only trailed WVU 34-33.


• Defensive highlight: WVU is known for its turnover-inducing defensive pressure, but Kansas showed it can take the ball away, too.

The Jayhawks finished with seven steals to the Mountaineers’ five.

KU scored 10 points off turnovers while West Virginia wasn’t able to thrive in that category like so many Bob Huggins-coached teams have in the past, netting 11 points off 10 KU miscues.

• Key stat: Three-pointers. The Jayhawks put on quite the long-range display, nailing 15 of 27 from downtown.

Newman drilled 6 of 8 and Mykhailiuk buried 4 of 8 as Kansas scored 45 points from behind the arc to WVU’s 24 (8 of 24).

• Up next: The Jayhawks will head back to Lawrence and wait to see who they will draw in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They don’t know their seed line or opponent for certain yet (though a No. 1 is a near lock), but they can enter Selection Sunday confident their next stop will be in Wichita, for a Thursday game at INTRUST Bank Arena.

By the Numbers: Kansas 81, West Virginia 70

By the Numbers: Kansas 81, West Virginia 70

Comments

Matt Gonzo 6 months, 1 week ago

Konate got schooled by DeSousa, love it. Super tourney men, continue the fire and drive next week.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Bryce Landon 6 months, 1 week ago

I agree. We saw De Sousa do some big time growing up before our eyes this entire tournament, and especially tonight. He won't be MVP of the tournament, but he should be Sixth Man of the tournament for sure!

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 1 week ago

DeSousa is a warrior, couldn't be happier watching him on the court - so productive and effective. He's just a stud!

Bryce Landon 6 months, 1 week ago

Every time I say Kansas can't or won't do something, they do it anyway.

First, I said KU wouldn't win the Big 12 after we got drubbed at Baylor. They won it anyway.

Then, I said KU wouldn't get past its Big 12 quarterfinal with Oklahoma State after getting swept by the Cowboys in the regular season and losing Udoka for the tournament. They won that game anyway.

Sensing I might be onto something, I said KU wouldn't win the Big 12 Tournament. They won it anyway.

My doubting the Jayhawks must be some kind of secret weapon!

So let's try this: Kansas won't get to the Final Four, and they won't win the national title.

Okay, Jayhawks, go prove me wrong!

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

That's funny; trying to twisting your ignorant cynicism into something noble.

Mallory Briggans 6 months, 1 week ago

Who was it that said losing in the BIG 12 early would be good to let the team gets some rest? Losing is never an option . Doks injury may have been a blessing SDS played like he belonged and we will need him during the tourney........Now they can gets some rest ......with the B12 tourney championship.

ROCK CHALK

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 1 week ago

Especially if losing to WVU, 3rd sweep is a must!!

Kit Duncan 6 months, 1 week ago

Since the Big XII Tourney moved to a Wed-Sat format vice Thur-Sun, the potential help from losing early is not as important to doing well in the NCAA.

Arizona's former coach, Lute Olson, was once quoted as saying he wouldn't be upset losing the Pac 10 (12) tourney if it meant his team would be better rested for the NCAA's.

Duane Peschka 6 months, 1 week ago

GREAT tournament KU. They all played as a team. No one slacked. Newman played as a top player. Graham, was of course, the ring leader to make sure KU did not lose. That is the reason he is the MVP of the Big 12. De Sousa is really advancing to become a top player next year. Vick even played well as did all the players. Amazing shooting of three point goals at 15 made and 55%. That is really fabulous. Coach Self made some alterations for the tournament and it made the difference. GREAT game plan COACH Self. KU is playing HOT right now and that is the position any team wants prior to the NCAA tournament. ROCK CHALK!!!!. See you in Wichita.

Bryce Landon 6 months, 1 week ago

I wouldn't have blamed them if the Jayhawks had lost at any point during this tournament with Udoka sidelined, but I am so proud of them for growing some big balls, especially Silvio, and winning it all!

Barry Weiss 6 months, 1 week ago

wow! awesome win1 Silvio is coming on like a freight train!

Drew Doerfler 6 months, 1 week ago

that was a great win without azubuike! i didn't think this team had it in them for a deep tourney run, but with the emergence of desousa, who might be the first big off the bench now when azubuike gets back, the emergence of Newman, and the steady play of svi and graham, i think they just might have a run in them........should be entertaining! I think Mitch will be redshirting next year. he really needs to get bigger and more physical.....he just gets thrown around underneath....and we are going to be ridiculously deep in the frontcourt next year

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

We'll be deep enough in the front court that Mitch won't have try to fill a 5-spot hole. He'll be fine.

Andy Godwin 6 months, 1 week ago

De Sousa was a man tonight and the Jayhawks look so much better when they make their 3’s. WVU is my new Missouri. Least favorite team to play in Big 12 and KU stepped up and played with heart. Rock Chalk Championship!

Steve Johnson 6 months, 1 week ago

those of you that said I was wrong on SDS, you were right. The young man not only proved he can play but if he continues to improve at this pace could be all Big 12 next year. Who would have thought the best thing for this team was Big Dok sitting this tournament. Jayhawks just went to the next level. Newman continues like this and could next year be the Wooden award winner. Lets hope he comes back to lead this team. I am very happy to say I was wrong on SDS and cant wait to see what he does in the tournament. Humbled but proud to be a Jayhawk

Shannon Gustafson 6 months, 1 week ago

Way to eat crow and admit you were wrong. I was just about to say where is Steve with his "Silvio should transfer to a D2 school at?" but now I don't need to. I'm sure everyone is glad you were not correct as it makes KU a MUCH better team knowing that we've got a good backup if/when Dok isn't available (injury, fouls, etc.) as well as a stud next year.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

More than when Dok isn't available, Silvio is playing at a level that he could easily sub in for Dok just to give him a breather. Coach was pointing out recently that Dok tends to pick up his fouls when he gets tired. They'll make a great tag-team.

Might they even be able to play next to each other?

Shannon Gustafson 6 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, that's for sure. He's certainly a better rebounder than Dok and has been similarly efficient offensively, though he gets his in a different way than Dok does. He just hasn't figured out how to defend the post very well yet.

It's too late to play them together IMO unless there is no other way to match up with some team. Self has said they tried it in practice and it was ugly. Nobody on the team really knows how to run a 2 big offense at this point since they've not ran it in a few years. If it was January we could look at having time to integrate two bigs back into the lineup. At this point they need to stick to what they are used to/comfortable with unless we're desperate.

Kent Richardson 6 months, 1 week ago

We beat a complete team in WVU who are playing their best basketball of the year. The Mountaineers got rough and tried to intimidate us but this team just does not back down.

Silvio just blew me away with his skill and athletic ability. When WVU was about to put us away in the second half the rebound margin was 33 to 18, ouch, Silvio came in and the rest of the game it was KU 9 WVU 4 in rebounds and there was nothing Konate could do about it.

When your center can outrun guards down the floor on the break that is an eye opener.

Malik becoming our leading scorer. and a cold blooded assassin, makes us a very dangerous opponent. Three players from the last two teams we beat were on the all tourney team and how do you beat that? With two of our own and you can make a case for Silvio as Matt Tait thought when he voted for him.

Tony Bandle 6 months, 1 week ago

Random Thoughts:

1] I'm guessing that, unlike what someone, who will remain nameless, expressed earlier, Kansas will not be the first Number One Seed to lose to a 16th seed. [All right, Bryce, I couldn't help but throw a friendly jibe your way.....actually, at the time I too thought that it wasn't as outlandish as it sounds now.

2] Silvio, in my mind, has transformed from "can he be a decent back up for DOk" to "will he and Dok be part of a two big man starting line up next season." UNBELIEVABLE!!

3] I think Malik has just punched his ticket to the NBA.

4] As a poster mentioned previously, Bill is going to have a huge, though good, still huge problem next season finding PT for an incredibly deep and talented roster.

5] I think it's time to move the three point line back to match the NBA distance.

6] Win the first game next week to avoid a Hall of Shame position in the record books then everything after that is gravy. [ Although getting 30 wins with this limited roster would be really cool!! ],

7] Huggy Bear kept looking down the court at Bill and his expression was classic...how in the heck do I beat that guy!!!

8] In some weird way, this season has been more fun than a fair number of the previous seasons. Maybe it because we have been so used to expecting victories with the past dominant teams, when this, by Kansas standards, under dog team wins a game, it's like a bonus gift at Christmas. :)

Bryce Landon 6 months, 1 week ago

Say, Tony, how did your lottery ticket purchase work out for you? ;)

Brad Watson 6 months, 1 week ago

HARD WORK ALWAYS PAYS OFF!!!!!! CONGRATS ON A BIG 12 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP TO EVERYONE ON THE TEAM....COACHES...PLAYERS....MANAGERS....TRAINERS.....EVERYONE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM.....GREAT JOB!!!!

YOU GET WHAT YOU WORK FOR!!!

YOU GET WHAT YOU WORK FOR!!! by Brad Watson

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

Loved the extra side-story about the therapy the guys go through in between games to help them recover. The hidden contributors.

Colby Hebert 6 months, 1 week ago

So proud of these kids and coaches. Well done!

Brad Watson 6 months, 1 week ago

SILVIO "THUNDERBOLT" DESOUSA AND LIGHTFOOT HAD A GREAT TOURNAMENT....MALIK ....DEVONTE.WERE SENSATIONAL.......SVI .....VICK AND GARRETT ... WERE OFF THE CHARTS...3 GREAT GAMES.......ALL PLAYED WELL.......DOK WAS FANTASTIC LEADING THE CHEERS FROM THE BENCH.... AND THE COACHING WAS SUPERB! .....IT TAKES EVERYONE TO WIN AND EVERYONE PLAYED A PART. IN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP !

Mike Greer 6 months, 1 week ago

If Dok is coaching Silvio, like the announcers keep claiming, he needs to hang up the sneakers and grab a whistle! Because he's doing one heck of a job! All the guys played well tonight, but we all have great expectations of Devonte, Svi, Malik, and Vick, but what a pleasant surprise Silvio has been. I do wish Dok would quit coaching Silvio with free throws though 😉. A couple of missed free throws was about the only fault you could hang on Silvio tonight.

Great win! Rock Chalk!

My wife walked in as the game was about over and said "Kansas is way ahead, why are you so excited?" My reply, because they are winning.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

He was 9-9 before today, and 18-25 is at least approaching Dok's.

Mallory Briggans 6 months, 1 week ago

ADIDAS AD FEATURING TRAE YOUNG

Commercials starts out with the Sooners hanging out in the dorms . Lattin sits on the couch playing on playstation . Trae is just chillin while jamming with his headphones on .

Theres a knock at the door

Doolittle and James look at each other ,neither wanting to answer ...........Finally Brady Manek gets up to answer the door

Brady says " hey guys its the UPS dude " ..

UPS delivery for Trae Young says the driver

Brady says Trae its for you !

Trae tells Brady to sign for it ......then Trae remembers what it is and rushes to the door

The guys notice its from Adidas and Lattin says you know we are a Nike school

Trae says I know I know!

Trae retreats to the bedroom locking the door behind him.

Now all alone Trae sets the package down looking at it and rubbing his hands together

Now after looking at the package for a minute Trae quickly opens the package like a kid at

Christmas.

Now with a wry smile ........Trae takes out the gift to himself.

A Devonte Graham jersey

Then the commercial fades to black

Adidas logo appears

Eric Dawson 6 months, 1 week ago

Mallory, I'm stealing this, but I will be sure to give you credit!

ROCK CHALK!

Harlan Hobbs 6 months, 1 week ago

You're right, Mike, and we aren't even "fair weather" fans!

So proud of this team and the coaches. They seem to be peaking at the right time, and with the rise to stardom of Malik and the rapid development of Silvio, they should be a force to be reckoned with in the NCAA.

Hopefully, they will keep the juices flowing and continue to spread the wealth consistently.

They should be the #1 seed in the Midwest with a road to Wichita and Omaha and then perhaps San Antonio, the site of the last National Championship ten years ago, not to mention the championship thirty years ago in KC. Could this be karma?

Brianna Zaleski 6 months, 1 week ago

Where can I find the post game press conference?

Thomas Green 6 months, 1 week ago

Great week to be a Jayhawk! Congrats to the team and all the players who have put so much into this season! Thank you! You accomplished all the goals as far as the league goes and are positioned well for the dance. Looking forward to see the brackets tomorrow and hoping for a great run. Like all of us, I enjoy this so much I don’t want it to end.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

As much as I love Silvio's shooting percentage, I would suggest that he does not finish like Dok. There were several shots that were put up so quickly there was nothing the defense could do. No collecting himself or any sort of delay to give the D a chance to react. Just one quick motion to put the ball up to the basket, and 8-8 in the process.

16 & 10 in only 26 minutes!

Gerry Butler 6 months, 1 week ago

Silvio is going to be an absolute beast, pretty much double, double machine. - -I'm really looking forward still to when he becomes even more comfortable with himself and team were he will be able to defend the rim a little more - -challenge shots better. - -Man this kid is going to be a stud. - Makes me now believe that we might actually be able to make a run, - We now know we have even more inside game - -some depth - and with the way our inside big's play - -teams have got to respect our inside scoring which in turn only means much easier for out outside guys. and when were hitting the 3 like we were last night PLUS our inside presence - - - -LOOK OUT - GAME ON

Harlan Hobbs 6 months, 1 week ago

With all of the comments, I suppose someone has already mentioned this. However, one play that stands out to me beyond the amazing dunks and rebounds came in the second half when Silvio took the pass inside and in one continuous motion before the defender could get set, laid the ball in.

It seems that most big men, who get a pass in that situation, try to put the ball on the floor before shooting. This allows the defender to set up to try to block the shot. However, Silvio got the shot off so quickly that the defender never had a chance.

I'm sure that coaches try to teach that move, but few players seem to make it happen. Meanwhile, here is a guy just a couple of months out of high school who made the play look so easy. He indeed is a "stud." He'll be an All Big 12 Player next year in my opinion.

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