Sophomore guard Malik Newman scored a career-high 30 points Thursday as Kansas avenged two regular-season losses to Oklahoma State and stopped the Cowboys 82-68 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament at Kansas City, Mo.
Newman scored 20 first-half points, keeping the No. 9 Jayhawks (25-7) in the game early before they rallied for a one-point halftime edge and then took control with a 14-0 spurt in the second half.
Oklahoma State beat Kansas twice in Big 12 play, the first conference rival to ever sweep the Jayhawks in the 15 seasons they have been coached by Bill Self. The Cowboys were also the last team Kansas lost to three times in a season, back in 1984 when Self was Oklahoma State’s senior point guard.
The top-seeded Jayhawks averted that setback, however, and did so without starting center Udoka Azubuike. The 7-foot sophomore suffered a sprained MCL earlier in the week at practice and will remain out until the NCAA Tournament.
In place of Azubuike, Kansas started sophomore Mitch Lightfoot and also used freshman Silvio DeSousa in a greater capacity. They combined for 14 points and 14 rebounds. Azubuike averages 13.7 points and 7.1 boards.
Senior guard Devonte’ Graham added 10 points and nine assists for Kansas, which will face Kansas State, a 66-64 overtime winner over TCU, in Friday’s semifinals.
Ninth-seeded Oklahoma State (19-14), which beat Oklahoma in the first round on Wednesday, was led by senior guard Jeffrey Carroll with 17 points. The Cowboys, on the NCAA bubble, were bidding for a fifth win over a top 10 opponent after winning four of their previous five.
Newman made 8 of 10 shots during his 20-point first-half spree for the Jayhawks, who shot 54.8 percent and led 43-42 at the break. Kansas inserted a football player, James Sosinski, at the end of the half after Lightfoot and DeSousa each drew two fouls.
Junior forward Yankuba Sima, whose season-high had been eight points for the Cowboys, netted all 11 of his points in the first half on 4-for-5 shooting. Carroll also scored 11, most of them during
Oklahoma State’s early surge, which included a 16-2 run.
—Field Level Media