May 28, 2024

KU advances to the sweet 16

WICHITA, Kan. – Jayhawk redshirt-sophomore guard Malik Newman scored 18 points in the final 10 minutes of regulation to help lift No. 1 seed Kansas past the No. 8 seed Seton Hall Pirates, 83-79, in the second round of the NCAA Championship inside INTRUST Bank Arena Saturday Night. Newman led his team with 28 points as Kansas advanced to its third-straight Sweet 16 and 10th in the last 15 seasons.

The win improved Kansas to 29-7 in 2017-18 and gave the Jayhawks 29 victories for the third-straight year and eighth time under head coach Bill Self.

After KU led by more than 13 points in the second half and the upset-minded Pirates quickly trimming the Jayhawk advantage, Newman exploded for 18 of his team’s final 23 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers and eight free throws to help KU withstand the upset bid.

The Jayhawks were focused in right from the tip, and while the shots were falling on the offensive end, KU’s defense is what stifled the Pirates in the early minutes. Seton Hall hit just three of its first 13 shots while the Jayhawks also forced six turnovers, all within the opening eight minutes of action.

Meanwhile, Kansas was able to build a 13-6 lead by the under-12 minute media timeout, and extended it to 15-6 with an emphatic alley-oop slam by freshman forward Silvio De Sousa to cap a 10-0 Jayhawk run and force a timeout by Seton Hall head man Kevin Willard.

The Pirates came out the timeout and constructed a quick 7-0 spurt of their own, cutting the score to 15-13, all while Kansas endured a scoring drought of more than three minutes. Despite a Newman lay-in and a Devonte’ Graham free throw, Seton Hall kept its momentum. The Pirates put together an 11-2 run to claim their first lead of the game, with Angel Delgado sinking back-to-back buckets to put his team ahead, 24-20, with 4:44 left in the opening stanza.

The Jayhawks ended the half strong though. Senior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk drove into the lane for back-to-back lay-ins before Newman connected on his first 3-pointer of the game to put KU up 28-24 with 90 seconds before the intermission.

After a pair of missed Seton Hall free throws, Newman beat the halftime buzzer with a long 3-point heave and the Jayhawks headed to the locker room with a 31-26 lead after ending the half on an 11-2 run.

Mykhailiuk and Udoka Azubuike helped KU put Seton Hall on their heels to start the second half. The senior-sophomore combo accounted for all nine Jayhawk points of a 9-4 KU run to start the period. When Graham found a sprinting Newman down the court for a fast break lay-up, the Jayhawk lead got to double-digits for the first time on the night at 44-34 with 15:16 left to play.

Junior guard Lagerald Vick then caught fire, scoring eight-straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers as the Jayhawks extended their advantage to 13 points just three minutes later.

Both squads traded baskets over the next two minutes, but the Jayhawk shooters would soon go cold. Kansas went on to convert on just one field goal during more than four minutes of game action and the Pirates were able to chip away at the deficit.

Delgado scored six of his 24 points during an 11-3 Seton Hall run that whittled the Jayhawk edge to four points, 63-59, still with more than four minutes left in regulation. Newman helped the Jayhawks weather the storm though, as he came up with seven-straight points while KU managed to keep the No. 8-seed at arm’s length and carried a six-point lead into the final three minutes.

With less than 90 seconds remaining and Kansas ahead by five, Newman found Mykhailiuk at the top of the key, where the senior promptly swished his second and biggest 3-pointer of the night. The shot gave the Jayhawks a 71-63 advantage as the Pirates began to go in desperation mode.

Seton Hall converted on three desperation 3-pointers over the final 30 seconds of regulation, but KU hit all 10 of its free throw attempts in the final minute to hold off the Pirates and close out the 83-79 victory.

Newman, who topped 20 points for the fourth time in his last five games, led all scorers with 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Mykhailiuk added 16 points, 10 of which came in the second half, while Vick contributed 13 points, which included three 3-pointers. Azubuike rounded out the Jayhawks to score in double figures, posting 10 points and pulling down seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

Kansas finished the game shooting 50 percent (28-of-56) from the field, and hitting 9-of-21 tries from 3-point range.

By defeating Seton Hall, the Jayhawks advanced to their third-straight and 31st NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. KU will play in Omaha’s CenturyLink Center on Friday, March 23, vs. the winner of the No. 4 seed Auburn and No. 5 seed Clemson game.