Kansas defeats Oklahoma, 104-74

  • 8 p.m., Feb. 19, 2018
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Monday, February 19, 2018

Silvio De Sousa keeps it simple as Jayhawks rout Oklahoma

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) and the bench celebrate a bucket from Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) and the bench celebrate a bucket from Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas freshman Silvio De Sousa stole a little incentive before Monday's 104-74 victory over Oklahoma straight off of the wrist of teammate Mitch Lightfoot.

After a spirited pregame that featured positive vibes flowing and good old Mr. Confidence peeking his head ever so slightly out, like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, De Sousa caught a glimpse of Lightfoot's wrist and saw the words “Rebound” and “Defense” written in dark marker on the skin.

Although the KU freshman is aware that those elements are as much his role as anybody's on this team, De Sousa said they provided him “motivation and I just did it on the court.”

In reality, he did much, much more than that.

Sure, his rebounding might have fueled his career night. But it was not complete until he tossed in a few points to go with it. In seven first-half minutes, spelling Lightfoot and Udoka Azubuike, who sat with two fouls apiece, De Sousa delivered four points and two rebounds. By game's end, those numbers grew to 10 points and six rebounds in 13 minutes.

“When I got in the game (and) didn't foul and got (that) first rebound, I told myself, 'Oh, I'm going to play a lot tonight,'” De Sousa said after the victory. “So I just kept that mindset and moved on.”

Four free throws in four attempts. Three offensive rebounds. Three defensive rebounds. And one highlight-reel slam dunk on a lob pass from Svi Mykhailiuk that set the Allen Fieldhouse crowd into a frenzy and had De Sousa still smiling after the game.

“I think it was great,” De Sousa said. “Sometimes in practice I don't catch those lobs and today I actually did. It felt great. Not doing it in practice and doing it in a game is a lot different.”

So, too, is De Sousa's comfort on the court, a fact that was not lost on Kansas coach Bill Self, who recalled the freshman forward's first game against Oklahoma during which he could not even stay on the floor more than a few seconds.

“Compare (tonight's) performance and at OU, where he had three turnovers in one minute, it's night and day,” Self said. “You could see it coming in practice, but it was so good to see.”

Self was far from the only one happy to see De Sousa enjoy a breakout night. The Jayhawks on the bench flexed and jumped for joy after his strong post move netted a bucket. They were even happier after his tip-in of a miss by Malik Newman (20 points, five assists in 37 minutes) that gave the Jayhawks a 44-29 lead.

And no one was happier than Azubuike, who hopped up out of his seat and cut in front of the walk-ons to be the first to greet De Sousa as he came to the bench during a timeout.

“Having a teammate that plays the same position for you and seeing him happy for what you're doing in the game is just a great feeling,” De Sousa said. “Seeing him cheering for me is a big thing for me. It means a lot.”

Although the final score might have been a little more common from KU teams of the past, the Jayhawks’ Big Monday beatdown of Oklahoma featured all of the elements of a good, old-fashioned Kansas rout.

Transition buckets that ignite the crowd? Check. A bundle of 3-pointers from a variety of players? Check, to the tune of 16-of-29 shooting for the night. Earsplitting sound coming from the Allen Fieldhouse crowd? Check.

Heck, KU point guard Devonte' Graham (23 points, seven assists and five rebounds in just 35 minutes) even got to rest in this one.

Call it osmosis. But when Josh Jackson and Sherron Collins are sitting behind your bench, it just might be inevitable that you're going to play hard.

And the 8th-ranked Jayhawks (22-6 overall, 11-4 Big 12) did just that from the jump, opening up a 20-4 lead in the early minutes to set the stage for the 30-point domination.

“If not the best, I'm pretty sure it ranks in the top three,” said Newman, when asked if Monday's victory featured his team's top effort output of the season. “The only thing on our mind was just getting payback. We went down there and they stole one from us and we just wanted to come out and have high energy, great attitudes and just go out and play and have fun.

Added Graham: “It was great. We haven't won like this in a while.”

As for De Sousa, and where he takes his game from here, Self said he thought the 6-foot-9, 245-pound bruiser could be on the brink of turning a corner.

“He was great. He was great,” Self repeated. “He's had a great attitude the whole time he's been here. He's struggled, he's frustrated, the game's too fast for him, we put him in a tough situation. I thought it'd be Feb. 1 before he'd be able to really impact us and it didn't really work out that way. It's taken a little extra time. But tonight he was poised, he took his time on the post.”

And there might be more where that came from, according to De Sousa.

“I'm having a lot of fun right here and especially tonight I had a lot of fun with my team before the game and I just told them I was going to have a great day,” he said. “The fans just make me feel like I'm at home and I'm safe here. I'm pretty sure that's not all they want to see. And I promise them they're going to see even a lot better.”

With a half-game lead in the Big 12 race over idle Texas Tech, the Jayhawks next will tune in Wednesday night when the Red Raiders take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., to see if their lead heading into Saturday's showdown in Lubbock, Texas, will be a tie at the top or a full game with three to play.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oklahoma

By the Numbers: Kansas 104, Oklahoma 74.

By the Numbers: Kansas 104, Oklahoma 74.


Tony Bandle 4 years, 9 months ago

De Sousa was "De Slamma" last night. Couple his production with Mitch's shot blocks and you have the most impact from the bench in awhile.

Oklahoma is playing itself into the NIT but I have to admit there were flashes were You saw the future brilliance of Trae Yoiung. He made a Curry-like three with Svi in his face. WOW!!!!!

Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

Somehow the NCAA will find a way to let Joke-lahoma into the Tournament. The Laters always get special treatment from the NCAA. Consider the following:

2003 - OU finished in 3rd place behind Kansas and Texas, but after winning the Big 12 Tournament, got a #1 seed while KU got a #2.

2009 - OU won neither the Big 12 regular season (Kansas) nor the Big 12 Tournament (Missouri), but got a #2 seed while KU and MU both got #3 seeds.

2016 - OU won neither the Big 12 regular season or tournament (both went to Kansas), and in fact didn't even make it out of the tournament semifinals, losing to West Virginia, but still got a #1 seed.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 9 months ago

They are still deserving to be in as of now but they are getting dangerously near the first 4 out.

Maybe they will be in a play-in game.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 9 months ago

Keep it up, young man! You've got big bros you can learn from: Dok & Lightfoot. Our team looks really scary with DeSousa picking up so quickly. We are NC contender if we can beat TT the way we ran over OU.

Geoffrey Alonso 4 years, 9 months ago

Matt, just out of curiosity, what are the most memorable Jersey retirement speeches you have seen?

Damian Glaze 4 years, 9 months ago

Surely, Wilt Chamberlain coming back after all those years for his jersey retirement HAS to be #1. Not only a great moment, his speech was pretty damn good too.

Andy Tweedy 4 years, 9 months ago

The only reason I might rank others higher is because I didn't see Wilt play live. Doesn't take anything away from that one, just was more personal maybe when I'd seen them live.

Brad Avery 4 years, 9 months ago

Add Lightfoot's three blocked shots and four points in 7 minutes and KU is getting some excellent post play off the bench.

Allan Olson 4 years, 9 months ago

WowE! I thought this "day-of the -BIGS" would never come when Billy flopped the season. And, persistent foul problems cut down the other's minutes and production. Last night was a site for sore eyes and a blast from the past. Self needs to get Sherron and Josh to attend every remaining game. What a boost. I hope to see that TEAM perform again for another dozen or so games. WowE!

Tony Bandle 4 years, 9 months ago

Most likely, with Dok, Silvio, Mitch, Lawson and McCormack forming the front line squad, Bill will probably return to his two bigs, inside/outside offensive strategy that has served KU so well during Bill's tenure.

It kind of makes me a little sad.

Watching the four guard offense function last night was a pure joy. Last night, I don't think anybody in the country, not Virginia, not Michigan State, not Villanova, not Duke, no one would have beat the Hawks! When its working, it's incredibly entertaining.

Also, by the way, the crowd at Allen was fantastic. Even just listening on TV, you could tell the crowd was deafening. It inspired the home team and added a nice pretty much drowned out Dick Vitale!! :)

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure that Self will ever go back to where he plays the hi/low half-court offense near as much as he once did. As formidable as our frontcourt may be next season, the backcourt could be just as formidable.

HCBS has certainly seen how dominant Kansas is when they are in transition and hitting the 3. Self has also seen just how well playing the zone can be when mixed in with man coverage.

The game has evolved, Self has evolved. Next year's team has all the tools that Self needs (some proven, some unproven) to win it all.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 9 months ago

Back in early January when OU was a top 10 ranked team, I got them at 30-1 championship odds in Vegas and put down $20. Thought I was pretty sneaky then. Now, looks more and more like a wasted $20:)

Joe Black 4 years, 9 months ago

It was a wasted $20 back then too. They have no concept of defense at all. You must play defense to win championships.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd rather do $20 at 30-1 than have to spend a lot more on the favorites to make a dime. That was the point. I didn't 100% believe in them, but at the time it looked like a potential Carmelo Anthony a la Syracuse type of team where one star carried them all. I never bet on the favorites... odds are too low and too much spend to make anything

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 9 months ago

I definitely agree that it would have been a pretty good buy at the time. Hard to believe it's the same team that has now lost 9 of their last 11.

Gerry Butler 4 years, 9 months ago

Can we all say - - -WELCOME SILVIO - -was a nice coming out party last night. -- I think maybe he is figuring it out - -getting more comfortable. - Ya it's ONE game BUT - -what a huge lift this will be if he contributes this way for the rest of the year and in the NCAA's

Tim Orel 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd love for him to have the same performance that Cole Aldridge had vs. Tyler Hansboro during the national semi-final, both because of the similarities - a post player who doesn't contribute much until crunch time, as well as the fact that it would be in the national semi-finals, but also what that might portend for his future. He seems like a very good person, as well as potentially a very good player.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 9 months ago

Where's Mr "Silvio should transfer to a DII school" & "wasted scholarship" at? He always had some dumb thing to say about De Sousa's future as a Jayhawk every time he played bad, I can't believe he's nowhere to be found after this game...

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 9 months ago

I think he oozed his way back under the rock he came from.

Daniel Parker 4 years, 9 months ago

great to see Silvio get some quality minutes and produce. Drooling over next year's roster. Bigs/F Dok at 7'0, De Sousa-6'9, Lawson's 6-8/6'9, Lightfoot-6'8, McCormack-6'9. Then we have all those guards--Garrett, Vick, Moore, Dotson, Grimes, Newman, Cunliffe. It'll be interesting to see if Coach goes with 2 bigs and McCormack as the bench big, and has Mitch and the 2 Lawson's rotate as forwards--although KJ is lsted as a guard. Then the 7 guards to choose from...wonder what the starting line up on opening day of conference will look like.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't think Cunliffe will be here. Same with Vick. Cunliffe isn't playing much with a shallow bench, so no reason for him to stick around. Yes he'll lose a year again, but he could find somewhere to actually play. Vick will think he's a shot at a late 2nd round and won't get drafted and then play in the dev league or overseas. I don't see either of them coming back.

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