Hello, Newman. Malik shines in Jayhawks’ win over Iowa State

An infant Iowa State team stuck around much longer than expected, but Malik Newman and the Jayhawks ultimately held on for a must-have victory at home.

It was shaky for a little while, but by the time the buzzer sounded, it was a narrow win for the Jayhawks. But with another victory in the rearview, two developments are especially evident.

1. Kansas could not put the Cyclones away

Well, at least we know KU will always give us a reason to watch the second half. After getting up to an eight-point lead, Iowa State stayed neck-and-neck with KU deep into the first half, going into the break only down by three. This, much to KU’s shagrin, lasted all throughout the game until a late final run finished Iowa State off.

You can split hairs on if this is indicative of a larger problem for Kansas or a problem in itself, but it’s certainly not adding any years to Bill Self’s life. At home against a major underdog is usually a recipe for a short game, but Kansas, once again, didn’t go on a run to trample a subpar team when they had a chance. It took until the three-minute mark before it truly felt like Kansas was in control. The results tonight were just good enough, but squeaking by Iowa State at home isn’t exactly a triumph.

2. Hello, Newman

I’m not sure it’s fair to him, but Malik Newman can determine KU’s ceiling this year. If he stagnates, so does KU. If he can be a consistent aggressor, KU’s outlook gets so much brighter. And it can’t just be about Newman scoring more. I cringe when Newman settles for a three, not because he can’t shoot, but because everyone else can. He has a chance to play differently, and in a way that the Jayhawks desperately need. 

He punctuated his night with a block and layup with under three minutes remaining and a scooped-up loose ball on the next Iowa State possession. Tonight was Newman’s best game as a Jayhawk, and it wasn’t close. It was 27 points and eight rebounds for Newman tonight, and he was more important than even that statline

3. Honorable mentions

  • Lagerald Vick had a couple of great put-backs that this roster desperately needs more of.
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk wasn’t the star of the game, but his hot start and six total threes made him the teams second-leading scorer and a huge part of the win.
  • The perimeter defense was problematic all night.
  • 24 three-pointers shot in the first half can’t be how Bill Self drew it up.
  • Kansas, at home, looked like they were playing a peer.
  • Devonte’ Graham finally hit a deep three with five minutes left. He was cold all night, but gave KU a dagger when it needed one badly.
  • I don’t understand why so many people hate Fran Fraschilla.

Tweets of importance

GIF of the night

Who’s the most important player on the team?

Weekly Frank Mason tweet

Is Kansas actually good?

Joshua Brisco

Joshua Brisco is an editor and co-owner of Rock Chalk Blog/Jayhawk Nation and the host of (Almost) Entirely Sports, weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on ESPN Kansas City, 99.3 FM and 1510 AM. twitter.com/jbbrisco