Malik Newman didn’t have his best game, but when the Jayhawks needed him to come through, he did.
The Mississippi State transfer hit a late 3-pointer to put KU ahead by four in an eventual 65-61 win over Kentucky. The play was set up by an offensive rebound by Lagerald Vick, who Newman was complimentary of after the game.
“It was big,” Newman said of the rebound. “It was a big boy play. That was a man’s play.”
It wasn’t quite Allen Fieldhouse, but KU coach Bill Self still felt the support of a pro-KU crowd at United Center on Tuesday night.
“There would be a lot of people in the state of Illinois that would not want me to think (this was home) at all, even though it’s been 15 years” Self joked. “But our fanbase is unbelievable.”
In front of a vocal KU contingent, the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks defeated No. 7 Kentucky, 65-61, to improve to 2-0 on the year. Self spoke about several topics after the matchup, including the crowd support, performance of Udoka Azubuike and event as a whole.
Kansas junior forward Landen Lucas says the Jayhawks can feel the competition for playing time during the preseason, and that the fifth spot in KU’s starting lineup is up for grabs.
From a personal standpoint, the 6-foot-10 Lucas thinks he can prove he’s worth playing by hitting the glass.
While Lucas spoke with the media, KU’s upcoming trip to Chicago for the Champions Classic came up, and the junior said the Jayhawks remember well how poorly their last appearance in the made-for-TV event — against Kentucky — went a year ago. Obviously, Kansas has no interest in duplicating that poor showing.