Postgame Report Card: Kansas 83, Kansas State 67 — Big 12 semifinals
Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 83-67 Big 12 semifinal victory over Kansas State on Friday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Malik Newman caught fire for the second night in a row and he and Svi Mykhailiuk, combining for nine 3-pointers, both hit some incredibly well-timed shots. Outside of that, KU's offense was a little bit sloppy and lacked rhythm. Part of that could have been the fact that the Jayhawks' energy was not where it needed to be. The other factor might have been point guard Devonte' Graham dealing with some kind of mild illness. Either way, KU was good enough in this one but far from anything that would be considered great.
The Jayhawks were much better on the perimeter here than they were inside, where Makol Mawien went 13-of-19 for 29 points. And, like the rest of the game, KU slipped in and out of good moments and bad when it came to their defense. Kansas State shot just 2-of-13 from 3-point range and was merely average attacking the rim off the dribble.
The numbers for Mitch Lightfoot and Silvio De Sousa were good for the second game in a row. Sixteen points and 14 rebounds combined, certainly seem like good numbers in place of Udoka Azubuike. But it sure seemed like KU coach Bill Self was yelling at both players a lot more than he did on Thursday and Self, himself, said after the game that both players did some good things and also were awful at times. They'll have to be better on Saturday in the title game.
Newman's 22-point night puts him at 26 points per game in the tournament so far and makes him the front-runner for Big 12 tourney MVP if the Jayhawks can win on Saturday. Graham came through with eight assists and Mykhailiuk knocked down 50 percent of his 3-point attempts. All are things the Jayhawks need to get consistently from this point on. Getting Lagerald Vick going again would not hurt either. He finished with 10 points and four rebounds in 28 minutes but did not seem to be as engaged as the Jayhawks want/need him to be.
Marcus Garrett made the play of the night — a steal after his own miss that helped KU pull away for good — and De Sousa logged career-highs in minutes (19) and rebounds (11). The only other player who checked in off the bench during real game minutes was Sam Cunliffe and he went out almost as quickly as he came in after fouling on his first possession and throwing the ball away on his second.