Analysis: Kansas 65, Kentucky 61

Kansas City Star reporter Jesse Newell broke down the Jayhawks' win over the Kentucky and answered fan questions during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Visit the page facebook.com/KUhoops to be notified about future shows.
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Kansas City Star reporter Jesse Newell broke down the Jayhawks' win over the Kentucky and answered fan questions during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Visit the page facebook.com/KUhoops to be notified about future shows.
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University of Kansas

Jayhawks survive off shooting night, beat Kentucky 65-61 in Champions Classic

By Gary Bedore

gbedore@kcstar.com

November 14, 2017 11:22 PM

CHICAGO

Malik Newman couldn’t wait to get back to Kansas’ campus after Tuesday night’s 65-61 Champions Classic victory over Kentucky at the United Center.

“Get in the gym and shoot,” Newman, KU’s redshirt sophomore guard from Jackson, Miss., said with a smile when asked what he most wanted to do after the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks (2-0) put on a less-than-stellar shooting performance against the No. 7-rated Wildcats (2-1).

KU hit 35.3 percent of its shots, including 8 of 28 three-pointers. The Jayhawks cashed just 9 of 16 free throws. Meanwhile, the Wildcats, who started five freshmen, hit 41.8 percent of their shots, and just 3 of 13 threes. Kentucky went 12 of 18 from the line.

“Awful,” KU coach Bill Self said of the shooting. “Malik (12 points, 4-of-14 shooting) and Devonté (Graham, 11 points, 3-of-14 shooting) and Svi (Mykhailiuk, 17 points, 7-of-18 shooting, 3 of 10 from three) and Lagerald (Vick, 9 points, 4-of-13 shooting) … their shot selection was awful.

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“The guys found a way to battle and do some other things to get a victory. My guys uglied the game up pretty good,” Self added.

Newman, who was 2 of 6 from three, connected during crunch time.

Graham hit one of two free throws to bust a 57-57 tie, then Newman cashed a three at 2:06 that gave KU a 61-57 lead. Kentucky cut it to 61-59, but Newman swished a pair of free throws following a rebound and sprint down the court with 17 seconds left to give KU a four-point lead at 63-59.

Kentucky cut it to 63-61 with 8 seconds left, but Graham made two free throws to give KU a 65-61 advantage at the 7.1 mark, sealing the victory.

“Malik got nine rebounds, got his nose dirty,” Self said. “Certainly the last one he (Newman) made was huge. He was wide open. And making free throws late … that was good.”

Of Graham, who missed 5 of 6 threes, Self said: “Tonight was as poor as he’s played from a shooting standpoint. He took some marginal shots.”

Graham had five assists, five turnovers and two steals in 39 minutes.

“He did a great job running our team, played 39 minutes. He’s a leader. He’s a winner. I think he’ll show everybody this year he’s one of the best lead guards in country,” Self said of senior guard Graham.

KU sophomore big man Udoka Azubuike had 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting, with eight boards and two blocks.

“Not near enough,” Self said of how many times the Jayhawks fed the 7-footer the ball. “We’ve got to do a better job throwing it to him down on the post.”

Azubuike played 34 minutes. He missed five of eight free throws.

“I was not tired,” Azubuike said. “I told Coach I was not tired. I was having fun and wanted to be in the game.”

The Jayhawks used just seven players with Billy Preston sitting out the game as KU compliance looks into a possible issue involving his car.

“It was a great grind-it-out win,” Self said. “We dealt with some stuff today. To basically play six guys and be able to pull that off when we were totally gassed … I’m really proud of our team.”

Tuesday’s win moved Self into a tie with Roy Williams for second in coaching victories at KU. Self is 418-88 in 15 seasons at Kansas. Williams also won 418 games (against 101 setbacks) in 15 seasons (1989-2003). Phog Allen is No. 1 all-time at KU with 590 wins.

KU overcame a Kentucky team that blocked 10 shots. Kevin Knox led the Wildcats with 20 points.

The Wildcats blocked six shots in the first half in holding KU to 13 of 38 shooting for 34.2 percent. The Jayhawks led just 34-33, at the break after leading by as many as 11 points.

KU will next meet South Dakota State at 7 p.m. Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

No. 4 KANSAS 65, No. 7 KENTUCKY 61

Kentucky

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Knox

37

8-13

1-2

7

0

0

20

Richards

13

1-4

0-0

9

0

3

2

Washington

24

0-3

2-2

2

3

3

2

Diallo

31

4-11

6-7

5

4

3

14

Green

22

2-7

2-2

1

2

1

6

Gilgeous-Alexander

27

3-7

0-0

4

3

3

6

Killeya-Jones

21

4-6

0-3

9

2

3

8

Gabriel

18

1-3

1-2

2

0

3

3

Wynyard

7

0-1

0-0

0

0

1

0

Totals

200

23-55

12-18

39

14

20

61

Percentages: FG .418, FT .667. Three-point goals: 3-13, .231 (Knox 3-6, Gabriel 0-1, Gilgeous-Alexander 0-1, Green 0-2, Diallo 0-3). Team rebounds: 0. Blocked shots: 10 (Washington 4, Killeya-Jones 3, Gabriel, Knox, Richards). Turnovers: 18 (Gilgeous-Alexander 6, Washington 4, Diallo 3, Richards 3, Gabriel, Knox). Steals: 7 (Gilgeous-Alexander 3, Knox 2, Diallo, Gabriel). Technical fouls: None.

Kansas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Azubuike

34

5-5

3-8

8

1

3

13

Graham

39

3-14

4-5

3

5

2

11

Mykhailiuk

32

7-18

0-1

3

3

2

17

Newman

33

4-14

2-2

9

2

3

12

Vick

37

4-13

0-0

6

5

2

9

Garrett

19

1-3

0-0

3

1

2

3

Lightfoot

5

0-1

0-0

0

0

1

0

Totals

200

24-68

9-16

32

17

15

65

Percentages: FG .353, FT .563. Three-point goals: 8-28, .286 (Mykhailiuk 3-10, Newman 2-6, Garrett 1-2, Vick 1-4, Graham 1-6). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots: 2 (Azubuike 2). Turnovers: 11 (Graham 5, Garrett 2, Azubuike, Mykhailiuk, Newman, Vick). Steals: 12 (Newman 3, Vick 3, Garrett 2, Graham 2, Lightfoot, Mykhailiuk). Technical fouls: None.

Half: Kansas 34-33. Att: 21,684.