Kansas defeats Baylor, 70-67

  • 5 p.m., Jan. 20, 2018
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Malik Newman bails out Jayhawks in crunch time to beat Baylor

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) holds up his hands as the buzzer sounds, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) holds up his hands as the buzzer sounds, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas sophomore Malik Newman has been around KU coach Bill Self long enough to have heard one of Self's favorite sayings at the end of tight games, with the Jayhawks leading or trailing.

“Coach's motto, every time the game gets close, is players make plays, coaches don't win games,” Newman said.

On Saturday evening at Allen Fieldhouse, the 10th-ranked Jayhawks saw a heck of a player make all kinds of plays down the stretch to pull out yet another too-close-for-comfort Big 12 victory, 70-67, that Kansas nearly lost control of down the stretch.

Despite opening the game by making seven straight shots and building a 18-5 lead, the Jayhawks, who led for all but 21 seconds of the game's first 34:25, actually found themselves trailing for much of the final five minutes.

Baylor, which trailed 38-27 at halftime and by as many as 13 points early in the second half, took its first lead of the game — 56-54 — when Nuni Omot drained three free throws after being fouled by Svi Mykhailiuk in front of the BU bench on a 3-point attempt with 5:31 to play.

Just 53 seconds later, the BU lead was up to five and the Bears (12-7 overall, 2-5 Big 12) were in complete control.

That's when Newman took over. During what can only be described as one of the most impressive individual stretches of KU's season to date, Newman scored 12 consecutive Kansas points — the first three of which calmed the Jayhawks' nerves and gave KU hope, and the last two leading to Kansas reclaiming the lead — to help erase a Baylor lead that grew to as many as six at the 2:50 mark and save the day for the home team.

Newman's run included a little bit of everything, but mostly was the product of what Newman called, “that will to win.”

First was the 3-pointer that made it 61-59. Then came two free throws off of a hard drive that pulled Kansas to within 65-61, a trip that foreshadowed what was to come. On the next three Kansas possessions, Newman drove harder each time, first drawing a foul to convert an old-fashioned three-point play and then getting two more tough buckets at the rim to finally give KU a 68-67 lead again with 1:09 to play.

“He was aggressive,” Self said. “He's the only thing we had going. Malik just bailed us out.”

When you're having the kind of night Newman had on Saturday, you tend to just find yourself in the right spots.

That's not to take anything away from the brilliant offensive game that Newman turned in, but a handful of the sophomore guard's 24 points, which came on 7-of-11 shooting and a 7-of-7 clip at the free throw line, came with Newman working his way toward the ball and the ball just kind of finding Newman at the same time.

“I think so. I honestly think so,” said Newman, asked if sometimes things just bounce your way.

That was just after Newman explained his mindset in those frantic final minutes.

“I was just trying to be aggressive and make plays and try to help us win,” Newman said. “Just being in the right place and just trying to hunt the ball down. I was able to go in there and get seven rebounds tonight, and, down the stretch, that's when I thought I rebounded the best.”

If there was any criticism at all of the way Newman helped will Kansas off the brink of an unheard-of third home loss in the same season, it came from senior point guard Devonte' Graham (15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists), the team's leader in just about every way, including energy and emotion.

“I wish he would just show a little bit more emotion,” Graham said. “When he gets 12 straight, say, 'Let’s go,’ or something. He just had the killer face on. But I’m happy for him and definitely glad he helped us get that win.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self talks Malik Newman's big second half, Billy Preston leaving for Bosnia

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discussed his team's 70-67 victory over Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse, including Malik Newman's star performance in the second half and KU's solid first-shot defense against the Bears. He also talks about freshman forward Billy Preston leaving for a pro team in Bosnia.

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KU's latest victory, which featured another step forward defensively — to the tune of 40-percent shooting by the Bears — did not come without some drama. In the final 18 seconds, Baylor had both a chance to win and a chance to tie, but each time the Jayhawks' defense stood tall.

Asked after the victory if he felt like his team's close calls, particularly at home, had sent a message to the rest of the conference that the Jayhawks were vulnerable, Self did not disagree. He also did not apologize.

“We are more vulnerable,” Self said. “But we also know how to win and we also compete pretty hard and we've got two unbelievable seniors and we've got a big guy down low that's hard to deal with if he gets it close to the basket. There's a lot of things about our team that a lot of teams would like to have. But our margin for error is, without question, the smallest it's been, probably since we've been here.

“That doesn't mean we can't win as many games. But it's going to be a lot of games like today. For us to win a lot of games, we're going to have to eke out some and understand that's OK, that's acceptable to do that.”

Next up, the Jayhawks will held south to Norman, Okla., to take on national player of the year candidate Trae Young and the Sooners at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.

“I'd love to eke out one Tuesday,” Self said.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Baylor

By the Numbers: Kansas 70, Baylor 67

By the Numbers: Kansas 70, Baylor 67


Reggie Flenory 4 years, 8 months ago

Newman was huge!!!!!. But we missed a ton of free throws especially Garrett my goodness is no excuse for a guard to miss that many free throws

Mike Riches 4 years, 8 months ago

The bad news is it felt like we should have won this game by 20. It has been a repeating theme in Big 12 play to not go for the jugular when we're up and thereby letting inferior teams back into it.

The good news is we haven't lost a close game all season. These guys have heart. I'm a nervous but proud Jayhawk fan tonight!

Gary McCullough 4 years, 8 months ago

If we were winning by 20 the games wouldn't be nearly as interesting. Several times I had to put the DVR on hold to walk around and get my heart rate down. I love the Jayhawks, always have, but this year's squad is the most entertaining team I've watched since I matriculated in 1983.

Michael Sillman 4 years, 8 months ago

I am starting to get very concerned regarding the minutes being played by Graham and Mykhailiuk. It appears that Self has no interest in developing depth and giving guys rest. Even with the big first half lead he didn’t bring any guys off the bench to get some game time. Only six guys are seeing significant court time.

I took a look through the box scores for the top 25 and saw 32 minutes as the cap in almost every game. Graham played the full 40 again. Shouldn’t Self be looking at the long haul?

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 4 years, 8 months ago

if you've ever ran every day you know it doesn't bother you to workout. it feels bad if you miss a day. aside from banging inside which they don't do a lot as 3 shooters i think they'll be fine.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm more concerned about the 50+ minutes Vick and Garret played for a total of 10 points. I know both bring energy and defense but on nights where we need scoring, both seem to disappear.

Malik also tends to disappear but in recent games, he has found the confidence to play his game and is a big reason why we have only one loss in conference play.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 4 years, 8 months ago

as far as trae goes, i feel like a constant double team will shut him down. the rest of the team won't be able to keep up with our scoring. if vick is into it i think he's our best defender but sometimes he just doesn't.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

The reason imo why it felt like we were so much farther ahead was because there were at least 5 really strong plays that were zeroes. Svi had at least 3 great drives that went for naught and Malik had a couple strong rebounds that ended up being turnovers. There were also a lot of nice entries that Dok usually finishes but didn't today and then the "free throws".

Gary McCullough 4 years, 8 months ago

Call up Scooter Barry. His father taught him the underhanded free throw. Regardless of how "old" that shot looks, the real pain is watching Dok's mechanics.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 8 months ago

The Malik Mystique was on display again. Maybe every other game would be nice from here on out.

We were 0 for 20 (outside of Udoka) for a full half of the game? This is a new territory that I don't want to visit again. Was it the zone, pressure defense at the three line or lack of offensive rebounding? Don't tell me I don't want to talk about it.

I get the feeling we are going to get up to top three in the polls and then get crushed by 30 at ISU.

I need to tone it down a little during games or Big Nurse may turn the game off in the sanitarium TV room.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

Generally I don't like to say that one player single-handedly won or lost a game for us, but last night Malik Newman single-handedly won this game for us. Admittedly he was the last guy on the team that I thought could do that, so I owe him an apology for doubting him.

David Kemp 4 years, 8 months ago

Realize at this point we will only go as far as Malik scoring double digits will take us.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 8 months ago

Especially with the fading Vick dilemma happening. I wonder if we will ever hit on all cylinders.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

I've seen more than enough videos on De Sousa to have some idea why he was ranked so high. I don't he is yet ready for the speed difference in high-level college ball AND how difficult it is to incorporate a new player into the rotation.

I think his contributions to the team will begin to show up in mid to late Feb. When possible, Self should give him as many minutes as possible.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

Very happy for Malik. When he stands up big, KU is in a good position, given the lack of depth.

Two other big stats were Devonte's 8 rebounds and 7 assists. On the negative side, 60% free throw shooting won't cut it. Teams will continue to foul Udoka and Marcus until they begin to make more free throws.

Lastly, Coach Self and his staff are doing a marvelous job of using their limited resources to the best advantage. Rock Chalk!

Mike Greer 4 years, 8 months ago

Newman did a great job of saving our butt with his play the final few minutes, no doubt. It's really going to be tough to win when you play 5 on 4 offense and in this game it was 5 on 3 for a good stretch. Garret and Lightfoot need to learn how to shoot period. Vick knows how, but seems to be in a horrific slump. The opposing team just doesn't even need to guard these guys right now, so the other guys on the floor are in a constant double team. And now the opposition has two guys they can foul at will and essentially get a turnover. Right now there's only 4 guys on the team that the other team has to defend, Dok, Svi, Devonte, and Malik.

The problem with these close, ugly games is Coach can't comfortably sub in bench guys to get the time they need to improve. Not sure what Cunlife did or didn't do, but I don't think he's going to get playing time in close games. That appears to be for Silvio at this point.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 8 months ago

No doubt, this is definitely Bill's best coaching job so far in his 15 years at Kansas.

With a truly short and short-handed rotation, dealing with a seemingly eternity of an eligibility issue, trying to incorporate and get a new "big" up to speed while on the run, Kansas sits atop the Big 12, will probably be in the Top 5 come Monday and have already won three conference road games and 16 total for the season.

I would hazard a guess that, under the same conditions, there aren't a handful of coaches in America that could produce the same results.

Actually, it's becoming kind of fun to watch this team survive and thrive against long odds.

Hey, I kind of like that as a motto for this team.....SURVIVE AND THRIVE!!!

Doug Clark 4 years, 8 months ago

Vick is really struggling, sometimes I don't even realize that he's in the game, so what not play Cunliffe? I don't understand why Garrett gets all the time when he is such a liability on the offense. If Sam was in the game the defense couldn't lag off him like they can Garrett and that might give Devonte, Svi, and Malik the room they need. Our offense was horrible in 2nd half.

Robert Brock 4 years, 8 months ago

Vick is a lousy defender and rebounder but brings some offense. Garrett is a hideous shooter but a good-quality defender. Cunliffe? I think he is confused about the KU offense and defense.

Kudos to Baylor for figuring out the Hack-a-‘Buike strategy - I don’t know what Udoka’s objective is at the stripe. That bent-elbow, sidearm shot is one of the strangest deliveries I have ever seen.

RJ King 4 years, 8 months ago

It's probably pretty close to how he inbounded a soccer ball.

Chad Smith 4 years, 8 months ago

Finally playing up to his potential. GO Malik!

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