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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Nudge in right direction awakens Malik Newman

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) pumps his fist as the Jayhawks lock up the win against Seton Hall with seconds remaining in the game, Saturday, March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kan.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) pumps his fist as the Jayhawks lock up the win against Seton Hall with seconds remaining in the game, Saturday, March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kan.

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Wichita — Kansas basketball coach Bill Self had finished talking to his team during a timeout midway through the first half of Saturday night’s second-round game against Seton Hall, but he had one more thing to say to sophomore Malik Newman.

“I was leaving the huddle and he just pulled me to the side and told me: ‘Malik, you just played 10 minutes and you only took one shot. You’re not being aggressive right now. You’re trying to let the flow of the game come to you instead of playing in it and being aggressive.’ At that point, I changed my mindset,” Newman said.

Newman’s first points came on a drive with 7:57 left in the first half and he finished with 28 points.

“Coach Self did a great job of reminding me that I wasn’t doing anything the first 10 minutes of the game,” Newman said.

He did plenty during the rest of KU’s 83-79 survival against Seton Hall, his most vital contribution coming on a great escape on a play going south in a hurry.

Kansas clinging to a five-point lead, Newman drove down low, a little too low, and was trapped in a land of giants, his dribbled picked up. Pirates center Angel Delgado didn't bite on his pump-fake, killing the chance that a whistle might bail him out. Newman pivoted and scanned the perimeter, hoping to have somewhere, anywhere, to go with the ball. He couldn’t have dreamed up anything better than what popped into view: Svi Mykhailiuk alone, outside the 3-point line. Newman found enough of an opening to zip him a pass and Mykhailiuk buried the shot from which Seton Hall couldn’t recover, giving Kansas a 71-63 lead with 1:20 left.

“Svi did a great job of getting open and relocating, and I was able to find him and he made a big-time shot,” Newman said. “No doubt, that was going in. I was at half court before the ball went in. Once I saw his elbow pull I was telling them (at the scorer’s table) put three on the board.”

Mykhailiuk, more stoic than most, reacted with a popular modern 3-point celebration, an archer pulling back an arrow and letting it go.

“He doesn’t always show that side, but he does have it in him,” Newman said.

Mykhailiuk didn’t take the pass for granted.

“I think he had like three people around him, so that was a pretty tough pass,” Mykhailiuk said. “This time of year, everybody’s trying to run me off the 3-point line, so I was kind of surprised I was that open.”

A couple of minutes earlier, Newman had the ball, but he wasn’t open until freeing himself with a wicked crossover. He used the space he created for himself to nail a 3-pointer that turned back the charging Pirates and extended KU’s lead to 66-59 with 3:37 left.

Asked if that were one of his favorite moves, Newman ranked it.

“The way I’ve been driving it lately, defenses kind of play back on their heels, so for me to be able to act like I’m going downhill real fast and then be able to pull back and create that little separation to rise up and shoot, it’s definitely a top-five move,” Newman said.

A sophomore transfer from Mississippi State, Newman had an up-and-down Big 12 regular season and caught fire in the conference tournament, averaging 24 points and making 15 of 22 3-pointers to lead KU to the conference championship.

He made 4 of 8 3-pointers against Seton Hall, 8 of 14 field goals and 8 of 8 free throws.

“Any one of our starting five always has a chance to go out and get 20-plus,” Newman said.

He has done that four times during the team’s active five-game winning streak and eight times this season, seven of them victories.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Seton Hall


By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Seton Hall 79.

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Seton Hall 79.

Comments

Brad Watson 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Malik saved us....we played an average game...definitely not championship basketball....so many things fell right for us to move on.....Seton Hall played like warriors late and we were fortunate to win...we will have to play much better next week ....bottom line...the positive side is...you gutted it out and emerged victorious...well done...enjoy your Sunday and get your minds right for the battle at the end of the week!.......

Robert Brock 8 months, 4 weeks ago

The Hawks need to play a little DEFENSE if they want to win another game.

Kent Richardson 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Perfect.

Malik, you wouldn't have been experiencing the sweet sixteen at MSU. KU, you have been here for over half of the last 15 years. Perfect, in that, you are here because of KU and KU you are here, this year, because of Malik.

A lot of players have averaged 22 points over a five game stretch. But five games of lose and go home? Those players are MVP and all american types and that moves Malik to the far right of the bell curve. In a perfect world players get to live their dream.

If you decide to return, then, along with the other returning players and the awesome looking newcomers, you have a great chance to experience it again. Perfect.

Bob Thompson 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Great win for KU, but to be honest, the ball was bouncing our way. The basketball gods were smiling on KU this game. Hope it continues, sometimes it takes more than great plays to win a game, especially if it is a close game.

Kent Richardson 8 months, 4 weeks ago

On some of out 10 straight FT to end the game there may have been a helping hand around the peach basket.

Harlan Hobbs 8 months, 4 weeks ago

So happy for Malik. He's proven himself in the last half of the season, and it is his time to move on the next level. As he mentions a bit in the article, he can thank Bill Self for bringing out the best in him, and I am sure that he will be eternally grateful.

KU didn't play such bad defense, and Coach Self said so in his half time interview on television. The problem was that Delgado is such a beast that KU had nobody but Udoka who could do anything at all with him. Also, if Seton Hall didn't get unconscious in the last two minutes, the margin of victory would probably have been double digits.

Of course, Delgado is also a pretty good actor. You would have thought he got hit by a truck on the two offensive fouls by Dok. Then again, maybe that is what it feels like when Dok taps you. Just ask Devonte!

Kurt Eskilson 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Where is Malik projected to be drafted? How much could he improve his stock with another year at KU?

Chad Smith 8 months, 4 weeks ago

You can say KU got lucky, but carrington didn't miss a shot the last 4 minutes of the game. Without him, Seton Hall loses by 10 points easy. Both teams had some fortunate plays in my mind. In march, all that matters is being ahead of the other team when the clock hits zero. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK

Andy Godwin 8 months, 4 weeks ago

After watching Newman play in Italy, I told my colleagues he was the most talented guard on KU's squad and could have the longest professional career on day. Not until the beginning of the Big 12 tournament has he live up to my hype. Graham has clearly carried this team for most of the season, but for KU to advance Newman, Svi, and Vick have to continue to play at a high level and Udoka has to play BIG. Survive and advance. Ready for Round 2?

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I'm proud of Malik. He has shown how dangerous he can be on offense. He normally helps us in rebounding, too. I'm pretty sure the next team will try to contain him tighter and we need the others to be aware of all kinds of trap, cutting the lane or be visible and open, like what Svi did, so Malik can throw the ball easily for an assist. With the way our team played last, 15-assists or more in the next game will guarantee our E8. Rock Chalk!!!

Corey Sparks 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't understand why people think he's gonna leave this year, he's definitely not a lottery pick, I don't even think most mock drafts have him in the 1st round. I'd be shocked if he didn't stay one more year. Plus look how that extra year helped Frank and Devonte, I'm sure he sees that.

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