It took an extra period for the Kansas Jayhawks to finally eliminate the Duke and reach the Final Four on the corner three-pointer from sophomore Malik Newman, the last man the Blue Devils should have left open.
Newman was very hot at the half, already making four three-pointers prior to the biggest shot of his career. He finished the game with 32 points and more importantly, gave Kansas the lead 81-78 and the Blue Devils could never recover.
Kansas coach Bill Self called the game “epic.”
“One of the best ones, if not the best, that I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.
Although both Kansas and Duke have storied histories in the NCAA and considered to be two of the best basketball programs in college, they only met a total of 11 times. This is why everytime the two teams are matched up against each other, there’s always a lot of hype and the nation always pays attention. The Devils won seven of the head-to-head games.
Coming into the game, Kansas had the top seed while Duke came in second. The Jayhawks have been winning even with its small lineup. Newman is just 6’3″ and Devonté Graham is just 6’2″. On the wing are 6-foot-5 junior LaGerald Vick and 6-foot-8 senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Their man in the middle is sophomore Udoka Azubuike, who does cover a lot of paint standing seven feet from the ground with a 7-foot-5 wingspan.
“It’s been a great year,” the coach said. “I mean, this team—to win 30 games and win the league and the league tournament, and play in the biggest game of the year so far on Sunday. It’s been great.”
Duke was paced by guard Trevon Duval who finished the game with 20 points and six assists and senior Gary Trent Jr. who had 17 points and three rebounds in the loss.