Jayhawks top Seton Hall, advance to 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. Newman led all scorers 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 and gave the Jayhawks 29 victories for the third-straight year and eighth time under head coach Bill Self.
After KU led by 13 points in the second half (12:20), 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 and the Jayhawks 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 that capped a 10-0 Jayhawk run and forced a Seton Hall timeout.
The Pirates came out of 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. The Pirates put together an 11-2 run to claim their first lead of the game, and Angel Delgado’s back-to-back buckets put his team ahead, 24-20, with 4:44 left in the half.
The Jayhawks ended the half well, 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 intermission.
Newman then 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 its 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, 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, extending the Jayhawks’ advantage to 13 points just three minutes later.
The squads traded baskets over the next two minutes, but the Jayhawk shooters would soon go cold. Kansas converted just one field goal in more than four minutes, 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, 63-59, with more than four minutes still left in regulation. Newman helped the Jayhawks weather the storm, scoring seven-straight points as KU 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 3-pointer of the night, a huge shot that gave the Jayhawks a 71-63 advantage. The Pirates then went into desperation mode.
Seton Hall converted on three desperation 3-pointers over the final 30 seconds, but KU hit all 10 of its free throw attempts in the final minute to hold off the Pirates and close out the 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 also reached 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 (43 percent) 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.
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