Kansas to close out regular season at Oklahoma State
Redshirt-sophomore guard Malik Newman
|GM 31: at Oklahoma State|
|3 p.m. (CT)|
|Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)|
|Record||24-6, 13-4||17-13, 7-10|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Big 12 champion and No. 6/6 Kansas (24-6, 13-4) will conclude the 2017-18 regular season at Oklahoma State (17-13, 7-10), Saturday, March 3 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Jayhawks won their 35th-consecutive home season finale after defeating Texas, 80-70, on Feb. 26 in Allen Fieldhouse, while the Cowboys are hoping to become the first team to sweep Kansas in a home-and-home regular-season series during the Bill Self era. ESPN will broadcast the game, set for 3 p.m., with Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) calling the action.
- With its 80-70 win against Texas on Senior Night (Feb. 26), Kansas outright won its NCAA-record 14th-consecutive, 18th Big 12 and NCAA-record 61st regular-season conference championship.
- With the win, Kansas also claimed the No. 1 seed for the Big 12 Championship, March 7-10 in Kansas City. On Thursday, March 8, KU will play the winner of the No. 8 vs. 9 game, at 2 p.m., on ESPN2.
- Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the Big 12 Championship for the 10th-consecutive year, beginning in 2009, and the 15th time in the 22-year history of the event. It marks the 21st time in the 22-year history of the Big 12, Kansas will not play on the opening day of the conference tournament.
- A win over Oklahoma State will give Kansas its 13th-straight 25-win season. That would extend the NCAA record as well as the longest-active streak in the nation.
- Hovering in the top-five most of the year, Kansas is No. 3 nationally in strength of schedule according to the NCAA. The Jayhawks are No. 6 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which is tops in the Big 12.
- In looking at the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index, Kansas currently has 11 wins against Quadrant 1 teams this season, which the most in NCAA DI (as of Feb. 27). KU’s six “Quad 1” road wins are also the most in the nation.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham, the Big 12 Player of the Week, is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. Graham is seventh nationally in assists per game at 7.2. See back page for more on #DG4AllAmerican.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is 38-for-43 (88.4 percent) from the field in his last six games. He leads the country in field goal percentage at 77.7 percent.
- KU is looking to keep its streak alive of 102-straight home-and-home conference series without being swept. Under Bill Self, the Jayhawks have 72 sweeps and 32 splits in those 102 regular-season league series. KU will try to make it 33 splits as OSU won the first meeting in Lawrence on Feb. 3.
Kansas (24-6, 13-4) is ranked No. 6 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released Feb. 26. Kansas leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 10.1 per game, which is 21st nationally. KU also ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring (third at 82.0), scoring margin (third at +11.2, 19th nationally), field goal percentage (second at 49.7, 15th nationally), 3-point field goal percentage (second at 39.9, 20th nationally), assists (second at 17.2, 12th nationally) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.5, 13th nationally).
On every national player of year watch list, senior G Devonte’ Graham is scoring 18.9 points per game in Big 12 play and 17.7 in all games, which is second in the Big 12. Graham is second in assists (7.12), is third the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), eighth in free throw percentage (82.6), fourth in 3-point field goals made (3.0), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (42.3) and fifth in steals (1.6). Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (45.0) and third in 3-point field goals made (3.2) as he is the only player in the conference to rank that high in both 3-point stats. Mykhailiuk is averaging 15.6 points per game, which is ninth in the Big 12.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the country in field goal percentage at 77.7 percent and is 38-for-43 (88.4 percent) from the field in his last six games. His 20 points on 10-of-11 shooting against Texas (2/26) marked his seventh 20-point effort of the season. Azubuike has five double-doubles on the season, two in Big 12 play, and ranks 14th in the league in scoring at 13.9 points per game. Azubuike’s 7.1 rebound average is seventh in the conference. Junior G Lagerald Vick is averaging 12.3 points per game. He pulls down 5.0 rebounds per game and has made 45 3-pointers this season. Redshirt-sophomore G Malik Newman is averaging 13.3 points in conference play and 12.2 points for the season. He and Vick are second on the team with a 5.0 rebound average.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett scored 11 points against Texas (2/26) with four rebounds and three steals. He averages 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot is second on the team with 47 blocked shots. He is averaging 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and leads KU with 13 charges taken this season.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE
Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with an enrollment 25,854, Oklahoma State is 17-13 on the season and 7-10 in Big 12 play, tied seventh in the conference with Oklahoma and Texas. OSU has won two of its last three games and has a 12-5 home record in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Four of OSU’s last five wins have been against ranked foes, including an 84-79 win at then-No. 7 Kansas on Feb. 3. Oklahoma State is coached by Mike Boynton Jr., who is in his first season as a head coach. OSU averages 76.7 points per game and has a plus-3.2 scoring margin. The Cowboys pull down 36.8 rebounds per game with a plus-1.4 rebound margin. Oklahoma State is second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 76.0 percent. Additionally, OSU averages 14.4 assists, 6.6 steals and 4.0 blocked shots per game.
Redshirt-senior G/F Jeffrey Carroll leads OSU in scoring at 15.3 points per game, which is 11th in the Big 12. He also leads the team with 52 3-pointers made and is second with a 6.0 rebounds per game average. Graduate G Kendall Smith is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per contest and in assists with 86. Smith has 26 steals, which is tied for second on the team, and has made 36 threes this season. Redshirt-junior G/F Tavarius Shine is next in scoring at 10.0 points per game. He has made 35 3-pointers, 24 steals and is third on the team with 17 blocked shots.
Sophomore G Lindy Waters III scores 9.0 points per game and he has made 44 3-pointers and is tied for second on the team with 26 steals. Waters pulls down 3.6 rebounds per outing. Sophomore F Cameron McGriff is scoring 9.3 points in Big 12 play and 8.5 for the season. He is also tied for second on the team with 26 steals and he pulls down 5.3 rebounds per game. Senior F Mitchell Solomon is 10th in the Big 12, tops on the team, with a 6.3 rebound average. Solomon scores 8.1 points per game and he has a team-high 31 blocked shots. Sophomore G Brandon Averette leads the team with 92 assists. He scores 6.6 points per contest. Other OSU regulars include sophomore G Thomas Dziagwa (5.5 ppg) and junior F/C Yankuba Sima (3.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg).
The Kansas-Oklahoma State series dates back to 1926 with KU holding a 113-58 all-time advantage. KU has won three of the last four meetings and 11 of the last 16 matchups. Kansas holds a slim 36-34 edge in games played in Stillwater and the series is tied at 34-34 in meetings inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 24-11 versus OSU: 19-9 in regular-season play and 5-2 in the Big 12 Championship. KU defeated OSU in each of the teams’ last three Big 12 Championship meetings in 2014, 2011 and 2006. KU head coach Bill Self is 17-12 all-time against his alma mater, including a 16-9 record at KU. OSU head coach Mike Boynton Jr., is 1-0 against Kansas.
THE LAST MEETING
A 12-4 Jayhawk run in the final three minutes wasn’t enough as Oklahoma State stopped the KU comeback short and claimed an 84-79 win over No. 7/7 Kansas, 84-79, Feb. 3 inside Allen Fieldhouse. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike led KU with 20 points, but the Jayhawks could not silence the Oklahoma State shooters, who converted on 12 3-pointers in the game as well as 64 percent of their shots in the second half.
The loss marked the first time in 19 years the Jayhawks have lost three games in Allen Fieldhouse in a season. On a day that the Jayhawks were celebrating 120 Years of Kansas Basketball hosting more than 200 former coaches, players and staffs watching from the stands, it was Oklahoma State that found itself celebrating by day’s end. Kansas didn’t have an answer for the Cowboys in the first 20 minutes of action, as OSU made eight 3-pointers en route to a 46-33 halftime lead.
KU seniors Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk each had 17 points with Graham leading the contest with eight assists. Jayhawk redshirt sophomore Malik Newman scored 16. OSU’s Kendall Smith led all scorers with 24 points, while Cameron McGriff added 20 points with nine rebounds and three steals.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 25-6, giving KU 25 wins for the 13th-consectutive season, beginning in 2005-06 … Give Kansas 25 wins for the 32nd season in school history with 13 of those under Bill Self (12 under Roy Williams, four under Larry Brown, one under Ted Owens and two under Phog Allen) … Make Kansas 14-4 in Big 12 play, giving KU 14 conference wins for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons, beginning in 2008-09 (only missing 2015 with 13) … Give Kansas its 103rd home-and-home conference series non-sweep during the Bill Self era … Make the Kansas-Oklahoma State series 113-58 in favor of KU, including 37-34 in Stillwater (35-34 in Gallagher-Iba Arena) … Make Kansas 8-2 in true road games this season and 11-3 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse … Make Bill Self 18-12 all-time against his alma mater (17-9 while at KU), 441-94 while at KU and 648-199 for his career … Make Kansas 2,242-847 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 24-7 on the season … Make Kansas 13-5 in Big 12 play, giving KU 13 conference wins for the 13th-straight season beginning in 2005-06 … Give Kansas five conference losses for the first time since 2014-15 and the fourth time in the 22-season history of the conference, matching its most conference losses in that span … Make Oklahoma State the first team to sweep a Bill Self Kansas team in a conference home-and-home series, making KU 102-1 in such occurrences since 2003-04 … Make the KU-OSU series 113-59 in favor of the Jayhawks, including a 36-35 edge in meetings in Stillwater (OSU would lead 35-34 in games played in Gallagher-Iba Arena) … Make Kansas 7-3 in true road games this season and 10-4 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse in 2017-18 … Make Self 17-13 against his alma mater (16-10 while at Kansas), 440-95 while at Kansas and 647-200 as a head coach … Make KU 2,241-848 all-time.
TEXAS LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The win made Kansas 24-6, giving KU 24 wins for the 13th-consecutive season, beginning in 2005-06.
- Kansas outright won its 18th Big 12, including an NCAA-record 14 straight, and added to its NCAA-record 61st regular-season conference championship.
- Kansas is now 13-4 in Big 12 play, giving KU 13 conference wins for the 13th-consecutive season, beginning in 2005-06.
- The win secured the Jayhawks a No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Championship (March 7-10), marking the 10th-straight year and 15th time overall KU has been the top seed in the Big 12 postseason tournament.
- The victory gave Kansas its 35th-consecutive home finale victory, 34th Senior Night, a streak which started in 1983-84.
- The win made Kansas 14-3 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, giving KU 14 wins in the venue for the 14th-straight year ,beginning in 2004-05.
- When Texas took a 13-11 lead at the 14:20 mark of the first half, it ended a streak of 87:20 of game action that KU had not trailed. Prior to then, KU’s last deficit came in the final minutes of the West Virginia contest on Feb. 17.
- Kansas made 60.6 percent (20-33) of its field goal tries in the first half, marking the 10th half this season the Jayhawks have shot 60 percent or better.
- The Jayhawks’ 16 3-point tries tied for their fewest this season, also getting up 16 long balls against Oakland (Dec. 7).
- KU’s 52 points in the paint were its second most this season and the most in conference play. Sixteen of the Jayhawks’ final 24 points came from inside the lane.
- The six combined free throws from both teams were the fewest in a Jayhawk contest since Kansas and Nebraska combined for five charities on Feb. 24, 1973 in Lincoln. KU contributed one free throw that day.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham posted his fourth double-double this season and of his career with 10 points and 11 assists. The 11 dimes were one shy of his career high.
- With 11 assists, Graham passed Aaron Miles (2005) for ninth on the school’s single-season assists list with 216.
- Graham’s two 3-pointers moved him past Kirk Hinrich and Terry Brown into sixth on KU’s single-season 3-point list, now with 90 on the year.
- Mykhailiuk’s 17 points moved him past Rex Walters for 46th on the career scoring list. He now has 1,079 points.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike went 10-for-11 from the field and his 90.9 percent field goal percentage was the highest field goal percentage since Perry Ellis went 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) on March 14, 2014, against Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship.
- Azubuike’s 10-of-11 from the field is the best for a Jayhawk in a conference game since Julian Wright also went 10-of-11 against Baylor on Feb. 21, 2006.
- Azubuike’s five blocked shots tied a career high.
- Freshman G Marcus Garrett’ s 11 points, all of which came in the second half, were the most since he tallied a season-high 13 against Texas Southern (Nov. 21).
- Garrett led the team in steals for the seventh time this season with three.
KU DUO NETS BIG 12 WEEKLY AWARDS
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham and redshirt sophomore Malik Newman were selected for Big 12 weekly honors, the conference announced Feb. 26. Graham was named the Big 12 Player of the Week and Newman the co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
Graham averaged 24.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds in victories against Oklahoma (104-74) and at No. 6 Texas Tech (74-72) in leading the Jayhawks to at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. Newman averaged 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists last week. The guard shot 58.8 percent from the field, including a 70 percent mark from 3-point range. This is the second time this season Graham has been named Big 12 Player of the Week, while Newman is the co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the second time in 2017-18.
Kansas’ 74-72 win at No. 6 Texas Tech (Feb. 24) marked the eighth-straight win against an Associated Press top-10 team on the road for the Jayhawks, the longest such streak in the 70-year history of the AP poll. Two of those victories have occurred this season. On Jan. 15, the Jayhawks topped then-No. 6 West Virginia, 71-66, in Morgantown. Kansas’ last loss in a top-10 squad’s arena came at No. 4 Missouri on Feb. 2, 2012.
During Bill Self’s 15 seasons in Lawrence, the Jayhawks are 37-19 overall against top-10 squads, which includes a 17-4 mark since the 2012-13 season. KU is 10-6 in true road contests against top-10 teams during Self’s tenure.
Kansas has now won 18 of the 22 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 14, which is an NCAA record. Kansas’ 61 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37 (pre-2017-18). KU’s 14-straight league titles, all under head coach Bill Self, is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.
KANSAS CONFERENCE REGULAR-SEASON TITLES
61 (*Tied for the championship)
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13) – 1908-09-10-11-12*-14*-15-22*-23-24-25-26-27
Big Six (12) – 1931-32-33-34-36-37*-38-40*-41*-42*-43-46
Big Seven (5) – 1950*-52-53-54*-57
Big Eight (13) – 1960*-66-67-71-74-75-78-86-91*-92-93-95-96
Big 12 (18) – 1997-98-2002-03-05*-06*-07-08*-09-10-11-12-13*-14-15-16-17-18
Here are some “nuggets” from the current Kansas conference regular-season championship streak:
- Kansas has won the title outright 10 times and shared it four times (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013). Overall, Kansas has won 18 of the 22 Big 12 regular-season titles, with those four being the only ties.
- In the current 14-year streak, including the four ties and the current two-game lead in 2018, Kansas has won the Big 12 regular-season title by an average of 1.4 games. Twice, in 2009-10 and 2016-17, Kansas won the Big 12 regular-season title by four games.
- In the 14-year streak, the Jayhawks have clinched at least a share of the title six times on the road – 2006 (at Kansas State), 2008 (at Texas A&M), 2009 (at Texas Tech, though it was a loss), 2011 (at Missouri), 2013 (at Baylor, though it was a loss) and 2018 (at Texas Tech).
- In Kansas’ national championship season, 2007-08, the Jayhawks won the fourth of the current string of 14-straight Big 12 Conference titles.
- Matt Kleinmann, Landen Lucas, Brady Morningstar, Travis Releford, Tyler Self and Conner Teahan each won five Big 12 regular-season titles, as they were redshirts during their KU careers. Teahan is the only KU player in the current streak to have been on two Final Four teams in 2008 and 2012.
- When the streak began in 2004-05, current senior Devonte’ Graham was nine years old, while fellow senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was six.
- In 2005, George W. Bush was beginning his second term as the 43rd President of the United States. Barrack Obama, the 44th President, would serve two terms and current Commander-In-Chief, Donald Trump, the 45th President, recently completed his first year in office, giving the streak three sitting U.S. commanders.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas once again finds itself near the top of the nation in the latest NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI). In Self’s first 14 seasons, KU has finished fifth or higher in the final RPI 10 times, including each of the last eight years. This season the strength of the Big 12 is quite prevalent. Kansas leads the league in RPI at fifth nationally and in strength of schedule at No. 3 (through games of Feb. 27). TCU is second in RPI at 19th and in strength of schedule at 12th.
RECORD BOOK REVIEW
Here are some things to keep an eye on as several Jayhawks continue to make an impact on the career and single-season KU record books:
- This year’s KU squad is well on pace to break the program’s single-season 3-point record. The Jayhawks have connected on 304 treys this season, a number that is just 14 shy of the record mark of 318 set by last year’s squad.
- Senior Svi Mykhailiuk recently became the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points, currently at 1,079, which is 46th. He is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone. Mykhailiuk is three points shy from cracking the school’s all-time top 45 in scoring.
- Mykhailiuk is already fourth on the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 95. He is five from becoming the fourth Jayhawk to make 100 threes in a single season. “Downtown” Terry Brown holds the single-season record with 111 treys in 1990-91.
- Against Texas (2/26), senior Devonte’ Graham became the 15th player in KU history to record 1,600 career points. He currently sits 15th at 1,605. Graham is the third player in school history to tally 1,600 points, 550 assists and 180 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers.
- In the Oklahoma contest (2/19), Graham moved into second on the KU career 3-point field goals made list, currently at 276. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) holds the season record at 338.
- Graham is logging 37.4 minutes per game this year, which ranks as the fifth most in a single season.
- Sophomore Udoka Azubuike is primed to become the most-efficient shooting Jayhawk in a single season. His 77.7 shooting clip is more than 12 percentage points better than Mark Randall’s record mark of 64.6 percent achieved during the 1988-89 campaign.
KANSAS CLAIMS 300TH BIG 12 WIN
Kansas’ win against Oklahoma (Feb. 19) gave KU its 300th Big 12 regular-season victory. In 22 seasons, the Jayhawks have amassed a record of 302-63 for an 82.7 win percentage. Only Texas (224) and Oklahoma (212) have claimed more than 200 victories in the Big 12 since the league’s inception in 1996-97. Now in its 22 year as a Big 12 member, Kansas has won 18 regular-season league championships and has never finished lower than fifth in the final standings.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 27-11 all-time on March 3
March 3, 2007: Kansas claimed its seventh Big 12 regular-season title in the 11-year history of the league outright with a 90-86 victory against Texas in Allen Fieldhouse. Sophomore guard Mario Chalmers led the KU offense with 21 points, which included a perfect 5-for-5 mark from 3-point range, to help Kansas finish the conference season with a 14-2 record. The Jayhawks overcame a 12-point halftime deficit, 54-42, after Texas freshman F Kevin Durant scored 25 points in the first half. The victory marked KU’s 1,900th in program history. The Jayhawks ended their season with a 33-5 record.
GRAHAM NAMED A NAISMITH TROPHY SEMIFINALIST
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham was been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 50th Citizen Naismith Trophy for men’s college player of the year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Feb. 28. Graham is vying to become the second-straight Jayhawk to win the award as Frank Mason III was the 2017 recipient.
On every national player of year watch list, Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I this season averaging 17.0-plus pts, 7.0-plus assists, 1.7-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. Graham is seventh nationally, second in the Big 12, in assists per game at 7.2. The Raleigh, North Carolina, guard is scoring 17.7 points per game, which is second in the conference. Graham is third in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), eighth in free throw percentage (82.6), fourth in 3-point field goals made (3.0), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (42.3) and fifth in steals (1.6).
KU DUO NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Kansas men’s basketball senior Clay Young and sophomore Udoka Azubuike have been named Academic All-Big 12, announced by the league office Feb. 22. Young was a first-team selection, while Azubuike is on the second team. A total of 31 student-athletes were named to the 2018 team.
Both Young and Azubuike are appearing on the Academic All-Big 12 Team for the first time. Young, from Lansing, Kansas, will graduate from KU in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. Azubuike, from Delta, Nigeria, is a liberal arts and sciences major. Kansas has a league-leading 57 all-time Academic All-Big 12 honorees since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. Texas is second with 52. KU has 42 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honorees and 15 second-team selections. In the Bill Self era, Kansas has had 37 student-athletes named Academic All-Big 12, including 26 Jayhawks on the first-team.
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
With its 74-72 win at No. 6 Texas Tech (2/24), Kansas is 5-3 against ranked foes this season. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 87-44 against AP-ranked opponents. In his 15 seasons at KU, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 12 of those seasons, which includes a 32-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 15-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. This number includes the Jayhawks’ victory over Kentucky on Nov. 14, at West Virginia on Jan. 15 and at Texas Tech Feb. 24. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-2 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
KU FROM DOWNTOWN
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 10.1 3-point field goals made per game, which is 21st nationally. The Jayhawks are second in the conference with a 39.9 3-point field goal percentage. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in eight conference games and 15 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks are 13-2 in games where they have made 10 or more threes. KU was deadly from long range in Allen Fieldhouse, hitting 43.2 percent of its 3-point tries on its home floor. Both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Jayhawk squads hit better than 44 percent from three on James Naismith Court.
Last year, KU set the school single-season 3-point record, making 318 from beyond the arc for 8.8 per game. Three of the last eight Jayhawk squads have averaged more than seven treys per game, with both of the last two KU teams hitting an average of eight or more threes per contest. This season’s team recently became the sixth KU squad to make 250 3-pointers in a season.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has established itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 185 of KU’s 304 3-pointers, which is 60.9 percent of the team’s threes. The prolific outside shooting from these two is nothing new as they continue to move up the all-time KU 3-point charts.
Since the advent of the 3-point line prior to the 1986-87 season, no other Kansas duo has tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 461 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. At Oklahoma (1/23), Graham and Mykhailiuk passed Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich as the most prolific 3-point shooting twosome in school history. Boschee and Hinrich amassed 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02.
Graham and Mykhailiuk are also among the most-accurate Jayhawk pairs. They have teamed up to shoot 41.8 percent from beyond the arc in that same three-year span, the third-best mark among KU teammates who have combined for 700 or more attempts. Rush and Chalmers boast the best combined percentage with a 42.7 percent (385-of-901) clip coming during their three seasons in Lawrence from 2006-08.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.7 percent and he is the only player shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five shots made per game. Azubuike is on pace to break the Big 12 single-season record of 69.3 percent, set by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri in 2011-12.
History has shown that it isn’t easy to lead the nation in a statistic. In fact, checking the NCAA Records Book of annual leaders, only twice has a Jayhawk led the country in a season stat and both were KU All-Americans. KU legend Clyde Lovellette led the NCAA in scoring average in 1951-52 at 28.6 points per game. More recently, Thomas Robinson led the country in double-doubles with 27 during the 2011-12 season. Under Lovellette’s leadership KU won the 1952 NCAA National Championship, while Robinson led the Jayhawks to a runner-up finish in 2012.
With a minimum of 175 attempts, the Kansas single-season field goal percentage record is 64.6 percent by Mark Randall in 1988-89. Last year, Landen Lucas shot 63.1 percent from the field, which ranks fourth on the KU single-season list. On the NCAA level, with a minimum of five makes per game, there have been only 12 players who have shot 70 percent or better in a season, with the most recent being Devontae Cacok of UNC-Wilmington, who set the NCAA record last season (2016-17) at 80.0 percent.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR…
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is quickly moving up the school’s all-time career lists. Graham entered his senior season No. 45 on the KU scoring list with 1,075 points. Against Texas (2/26), Graham became the 15th player in KU history to score 1,600 career points. He currently sits 15th with 1,605 points.
- Against Oklahoma (2/19), Graham moved into second all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 276. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) is first at 338.
- Entering 2017-18 with a 247-48 (83.7 percent) record since 2010, Kansas is the winningest program, by percentage, this decade: 1. KANSAS (247-48, 83.7%); 2. Gonzaga (239-47, 83.6%); 3. Kentucky (249-53, 82.5%); 4. Wichita State (233-53, 81.7); 5. Duke (238-56, 81.0%).
Kansas will enter the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, March 7-10, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, as the No. 1 seed. KU will play in the event’s quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8, at 2 p.m. on ESPN2. KU will face the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game, which will be played March 7.
Kansas is 71-27 all-time in postseason conference tournaments, including a 41-11 record in the Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks have won 14 league tourney titles with 10 of those in the Big 12 era and its last in 2016. Kansas is 18-3 in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals.
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