Sunday, March 25, 2018

Notebook: Jayhawks outrebound Duke; Newman named regional’s Most Outstanding Player

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) kisses the Midwest Regional trophy as the Jayhawks celebrate a trip to the Final Four following their 85-81 overtime victory over Duke on Sunday in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) kisses the Midwest Regional trophy as the Jayhawks celebrate a trip to the Final Four following their 85-81 overtime victory over Duke on Sunday in Omaha, Neb.


Omaha, Neb. — The fear going in was that the mammoth size and superior rebounding prowess of Duke would be too much for Kansas to contend with in Sunday's Elite Eight game, a game that was the antithesis of the rest of this year's NCAA Tournament, pitting the top two seeds and college basketball powerhouses against each other in the regional final.

And then the game tipped off and the most unexpected thing happened. The Jayhawks dominated the glass.

For all of the offensive numbers that Kansas used to knock off Duke, 85-81, in a thrilling overtime contest, it was KU's whopping 47-32 advantage on the boards that might have been most responsible for moving the Jayhawks into the Final Four.

KU ripped down 17 offensive rebounds (compared to 10 for Duke) and continually got the big defensive boards it needed to spark the Jayhawks’ transition offense and keep Duke's defense from getting comfortable.

Five Jayhawks grabbed six or more rebounds, including a team-best 10 from reserve big man Silvio De Sousa and 6-foot-8 guard Svi Mykhailiuk, who failed to record a single rebound in KU's Sweet 16 victory over Clemson two nights earlier.

“Unbelievable,” elated KU coach Bill Self said on the court during the postgame celebration. “My soft guys rebounded the ball pretty good. … Our guys were unbelievable on the glass and that was obviously a huge factor.”

KU center Udoka Azubuike, who fouled out with nine points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes, said he was blown away by how hard his teammates hit the glass in Sunday's victory.

“They were great,” Azubuike said. “We talked about it. They came in, they stepped up big and they went and got the ball. It was a team effort today.”

The monster performance in the rebounding department marked just the 13th time in 38 games this season that the Jayhawks outrebounded an opponent.

And the plus-15 advantage was KU's fourth best margin of the season, made all the more impressive considering the opponent.

On the flip side, KU became just the seventh team all season to outrebound the Blue Devils, who entered Sunday not having been topped on the glass by more than six rebounds in a single game in 36 previous tries.

Said Self, who pointed out that eight of Duke's 32 rebounds were loose off of deflections out of bounds: “That was the best we've done on the glass all year long and the most dominant we've been, without question. We were terrific.”


As was the case in Kansas City, Mo., at the Big 12 tournament, Malik Newman picked up some more hardware at Sunday's regional final, bringing home Most Outstanding Player honors from a region that included a ton of future NBA talent.

Newman, who hit 30 points or more for the second time in the past six games, was joined on the all-tourney team by teammate Devonte' Graham, Duke's Trevon Duval, Marvin Bagley III and Gary Trent Jr., and Clemson's Gabe DeVoe.

“Well, he's been their hottest player,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Newman after the loss. “He basically continued to do what he does. They've got four really good options, but he's been really hot. He's been playing at an extremely high level and he did that, especially in the second half. He's a great kid and he's a good player.”

King Svi

His 3-of-9 shooting clip from 3-point range on Sunday night, moved Kansas senior Svi Mykhailiuk into first place on KU's all-time list for 3-pointers made in a single season.

Mykhailiuk now has hit 114 triples this season, moving him ahead of Terry Brown, who drained 111 during the 1990-91 season. Mykhailiuk now has made three or more 3-pointers 40 times during his KU career, including 23 times this season.

While Mykhailiuk's first triple of the night set the record, it was his last, which tied the game with 25 seconds to play, that will forever be remembered.

Now, with the Jayhawks having at least one more game to play this season, Mykhailiuk can simply pad his record next weekend in San Antonio.

Already the first KU duo to each make 100 3-pointers in the same season, Mykhailiuk and Graham have combined to make the most 3-pointers in a three-year span by any Jayhawks in history, recording 490 combined triples during the past three seasons. Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich rank second on that list, with 405, and so many of Mykhailiuk's 3-point makes have come off of passes from Graham.

To that end, Graham on Sunday became KU's single-season assists leader, moving to 279 on the season, one better than the mark established by Cedric Hunter in 1985-86.

Don't forget Frank

In the hallway outside of the locker room after the game, Kansas director of student-athlete development Fred Quartlebaum sent a quick text to someone he thought deserved to be a part of Sunday's moment, as well — former Jayhawk point guard, Frank Mason III.

“He's so happy for this group,” Quartlebaum said with a huge grin. “So I just hit him up and let him know we were thinking about him. He's living his dream now, playing in the NBA. But he set the table for this.”

Happy Birthday

Saturday marked KU guard Sam Cunliffe's 21st birthday and, instead of spending it the way a lot of college students do, Cunliffe watched a lot of film and did whatever he could to help the Jayhawks get ready for Duke.

As it turned out, Cunliffe's big bash was merely delayed a day, with the Jayhawks unleashing a wild celebration on the floor, in the locker room and, undoubtedly, on the entire bus ride back to Lawrence after their victory.

Asked if the regional championship trophy came a day late to qualify as a birthday present, Cunliffe smiled and said simply, “This is all I wanted, though. That's all I wanted. So we're good.”

This and that...

Kansas, which now has won seven games in a row since ending the regular season with an ugly loss at Oklahoma State, has reached 31 wins for the third consecutive season and ninth time in 15 years under Self... KU, next week, will be playing in its 15th Final Four in school history and improved to 107-45 all-time in NCAA Tournament games (fourth most ever behind Kentucky (126), North Carolina (124) and Duke (111), including 15-8 in the Elite Eight, 39-12 as a 1 seed, 6-4 against No. 2 seeds and 7-1 in NCAA Tournament games played in Omaha... Sunday's victory was KU's first NCAA Tournament overtime game since the Jayhawks lost to Michigan in the 20013 Sweet 16 in Dallas... KU is now 68-58 all-time in overtime games and 1-0 in overtime games this season. KU is 5-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament games decided in overtime.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Duke

By the Numbers: Kansas 85, Duke 81.

By the Numbers: Kansas 85, Duke 81.


Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

Another note on today's win:

While Bill Self's record in Elite Eight games is less than stellar, all three of his wins have come from teams from the state of North Carolina (Davidson in 2008, UNC in 2012, and Duke in 2018). And, if I'm not mistaken, all three games tipped off at 4:05 pm CT on a Sunday and were all aired on CBS. The Bill Self formula for winning the Elite Eight - play at 4:05 pm on a Sunday afternoon, play the game on CBS, and play a team from the state of North Carolina!

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

Another fun fact: Way back in 2000, when Kansas lost to Duke in the NCAA Round of 32, Duke had a commanding 6-1 lead in the all-time series with Kansas. Since then, however, Kansas has won 4 of the last 5 meetings.

Larry Brown's record against Duke: 1-3.

Roy Williams' record against Duke: 1-3.

Bill Self's record against Duke: 3-1.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

And just for fun, let's recap each game in the Kansas-Duke series.

1) December 1, 1985 - Duke 92, Kansas 86 - New York City (Preseason NIT title game)

2) March 29, 1986 - Duke 71, Kansas 67 - Dallas (NCAA national semifinal)

3) February 20, 1988 - Duke 74, Kansas 70, OT - Lawrence

4) April 2, 1988 - Kansas 66, Duke 59 - Kansas City (NCAA national semifinal)

5) February 18, 1989 - Duke 102, Kansas 77 - Durham, NC

6) April 1, 1991 - Duke 72, Kansas 65 - Indianapolis (NCAA title game)

7) March 19, 2000 - Duke 69, Kansas 64 - Winston-Salem, NC (NCAA Round of 32)

8) March 27, 2003 - Kansas 69, Duke 65 - Anaheim, CA (NCAA regional semifinal)

9) November 23, 2011 - Duke 68, Kansas 61 - Lahaina, HA (Maui Invitational title game)

10) November 12, 2013 - Kansas 94, Duke 83 - Chicago (Champions' Classic)

11) November 15, 2016 - Kansas 77, Duke 75 - New York City (Champions' Classic)

12) March 25, 2018 - Kansas 85, Duke 81, OT - Omaha (NCAA regional final)

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 8 months ago

Great job, Newman!! Be prepared to be locked in tightly by Nova. Remember, you can always share your scoring stats with the rest of the team!!

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

It is great that Malik is locked in on FT's lately, especially at the end of the game. Devonte has been uncharacteristicly erratic late in games recently.

It is also great to see all the guys stepping up aggressively. Makes it tough to defend, because you really can't help off anyone very much. Even when they are leaving Garrett alone on the perimeter, he's taking advantage of it and attacking. Loved his head fake on his 2nd shot near the basket after getting the first one stuffed.

As a defender, you have to close out, because all 4 will kill you from the arc, and then all 4 will blow past. There's no help from teammates either, or it is an open 3 for someone else. And then Silvio and Dok are becoming Landonian with their sealing of the post defenders to keep the lane to the basket generally clear.

Wow. Everything Coach has been trying to get them to do is coming together.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

Another fun fact - Remember being among the last teams on the list for both Duvall and Bagley? And now they get to go home. Each are obviously talented, and we're still dancing with the best coach and staff in the game.

Brad Avery 4 years, 8 months ago

Overlooked is the fact that Svi was also tied as the leading rebounder with Silvio with 10 boards. Great job! Key to winning the game.

James Donnell 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, Super Svi deserves so much credit for this win. He was a defensive stud on Bagley and nearly matched his stats. The 10 rebounds were phenomenal. Then with rubbery and tired legs he managed to hit that three. Talk about wanting it bad!! Just incredible.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self improves to 14-2 all-time against the ACC while at Kansas. I'd say that 14 wins is good enough to win the league most years.

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 8 months ago

Probably the most enjoyable game for many reasons. It was Duke. It was for the FF. And we were supposed to lose. I was just so proud of the way our guys competed their tails off even though I thought they would lose due to the size of Bagley and Carter. Then we got Carter in foul trouble and Svi, kept his butt in Bagley's gut all night. Just wow!

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

Happy birthday wishes to Sam Cunliffe. I know that his transfer hasn't worked out yet the way he had wished individually, but his focus on the team speaks volumes about his character. I hope that there is a way for him to reach his potential at KU, but if not, I wish him the best for the future.

It appears that he is caught up in a "numbers game" at KU and may have to transfer elsewhere to get significant minutes. Regardless, once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk.

Sam Burns 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey all, don't miss the Mc Donalds All-American game Wednesday at 6:00 on ESPN. We have three players playing in it.

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