LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Malik Newman started the game for Kansas on the bench.
He was on the floor when it mattered.
The on-again, off-again starter finally broke out for a career-high 27 points, and Svi Mykhailiuk added 23 to help the No. 12 Jayhawks beat pesky Iowa State 83-78 on Tuesday night.
“I mean, it was a good one. I can say that,” said Newman, the heralded Mississippi State transfer whose first season playing for the Jayhawks has been a rollercoaster with more downs than ups.
“I mean, it feels good,” Newman said of his performance. “Coach has been putting pressure on me to go out and be aggressive, play my game and be myself. I tried to do that.”
They sure needed him to do that.
Devonte Graham added 11 points for the Jayhawks (13-3, 3-1 Big 12), most of those coming in crunch time, when he shook off a 1-for-11 start from the field to knock down three big jumpers.
The game was tied 73-all with 3 1/2 minutes left, but Newman blocked Donovan Jackson’s shot to create a run-out for Kansas at the other end. Iowa State proceeded to turn it over on its next three possessions, and the Jayhawks converted two of them into easy baskets to put the game away.
It was the Jayhawks’ 12th win over Iowa State in their last 13 tries at Allen Fieldhouse.
Lindell Wigginton had 27 points and Jackson scored 20 for the Cyclones (9-6, 0-4), whose four straight losses — including back-to-back overtime defeats — have come on the heels of nine straight wins.
Cameron Lard added 15 points and 10 rebounds, though he also committed seven of the Cyclones’ 17 turnovers, and Nick Weiler-Babb contributed 13 points, 10 boards and eight assists.
“The difference in the game was turnovers, live-ball turnovers,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “When you break it down, live-ball turnovers are what really killed us, that and transition defense.”
The Cyclones didn’t have to worry about transition D in the first half.
The Jayhawks spent it settling for long, contested 3-pointers — they shot 24 of them and had just 10 attempts from inside the arc, drawing the ire of coach Bill Self.
“We were over-reliant,” he said. “I mean, 15 of our first 19 shots were 3s, from what I was told, and we weren’t smart enough to play to their weakness.”
Kansas also kept breaking down on defense, particularly when Wigginton had the ball in his hands.
The high-scoring freshman guard from Canada had 16 points in the first half, and they came from just about everywhere. He knocked down a 3-pointer, got to the foul line and was money on pull-up jumpers, his ability to knock down the 15-footer causing the Jayhawks fits.
It was one of those jumpers that gave the Cyclones their first lead early in the second half.
“My teammates are always confident in me,” Wigginton said, “telling me to attack.”
Udoka Azubuike responded with a dunk for the Jayhawks, though, and Newman converted a three-point play to start their first big run. Newman turned a turnover into a dunk, and another turnover turned into a fast-break dunk by Lagerald Vick to make it 49-42 and prompt a Cyclones timeout.
Iowa State kept answering every time the Jayhawks went on another run, but it was Newman’s breakout performance and Graham’s poise down the stretch that yielded one run too many.
“We just (weren’t) on cue,” Jackson said. “We’ve got a real good team, but down the stretch we just have to add the extra five minutes, like Coach has been preaching to us. And it’ll come.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Kansas was 5 of 13 from the foul line. … Graham also had nine assists and four steals. … The Cyclones had a 44-34 advantage in rebounds. … Wigginton played all 40 minutes. … Iowa State got two points in 36 minutes from its bench.
Iowa State squandered a soft start to league play in losses to Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State, but could have made up for it by beating Kansas. Instead, the Cyclones showed they’re good enough to compete but not quite good enough to win just yet.
Kansas was coming off a tough road win over TCU, and for a while it appeared the Jayhawks had taken Iowa State lightly. They came up with crucial stops on defense in the closing minutes to prevent the upset, but also showed the same cracks that have been evident all season.
Iowa State returns home to face Baylor on Saturday.
Kansas plays rival Kansas State on Saturday.