Malik Newman, Kansas Outlast Marvin Bagley III, Duke in Epic OT Thriller

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2018

Kansas' Malik Newman (14) heads to the basket around Duke's Trevon Duval (1) during the first half of a regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 25, 2018, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Duke traded haymakers throughout a thrilling Midwest Regional final Sunday at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, but the Jayhawks ultimately landed the knockout blow to book a spot in the Final Four. 

In a back-and-forth affair between blue-blood programs, Malik Newman saved the day for Kansas and scored all 13 of the team's points in overtime to secure a 85-81 win for the Jayhawks. 

Newman's heroics were made possible by sharpshooter Svi Mykhailiuk—whose three-pointer knotted the score at 72 with 25.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Duke's Grayson Allen had a clean look to win it on the ensuing possession, but his shot rimmed out, and opened the door for the Jayhawks to set up a national semifinal showdown with the Villanova Wildcats.  

Mykhailiuk (11 points) was one of four Jayhawks to finish in double figures, with Newman the clear headliner in that group. 

The 2017-18 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year scorched Duke's zone inside and out, and he finished with a career-high 32 points, seven rebounds and three steals as his coming out party continued. 

The Blue Devils countered with 20 points from freshman guard Trevon Duval—his second-highest scoring total of the season—and his backcourt mate, Gary Trent Jr., added 17. 

The issue for Duke was two-fold. 

First, the Blue Devils struggled with Marvin Bagley III's usage. 

Kansas made a concerted effort to double Bagley on the catch throughout the first half, and the strategy proved effective. The freshman phenom was quiet over the first 20 minutes with five points on five shots. 

The Blue Devils ultimately adjusted and found ways for Bagley to operate in space more throughout the second stanza. And while he finished with 16 points, his last made field goal in regulation came with 9:57 left as Duke largely moved away from getting him post touches down the stretch. 

The other problem was Allen's second straight shaky performance from beyond the arc.  

Coming off a 4-of-15 effort against Syracuse, the senior closed out his college career by scoring 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-9 from three. 

While Duke is headed home, the Jayhawks will prepare for a showdown with the Wildcats in San Antonio. 

Those programs also met in the 2016 NCAA tournament, when Villanova outlasted Kansas for a 64-59 win in the Elite Eight before knocking off Oklahoma in the Final Four and North Carolina in the national championship game. 

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