Svi Mykhailiuk, the hero of Tuesday night’s Kansas-Kansas State game, wasn’t about to say he may have taken as many as three steps on a driving layup that beat the buzzer and gave the Jayhawks a 90-88 victory over the rival Wildcats.
All KU’s junior guard from Ukraine knows is he was mighty happy after storming through the lane and completing a scoop shot that gave the Jayhawks their 10th straight victory over K-State at Allen Fieldhouse and 50th consecutive homecourt victory, which includes 47 in the Fieldhouse and three in the Sprint Center.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Mykhailiuk said, asked if he walked on the bucket that gave him 11 points for the game.
He did indicate he watched a replay of his lay-in on his phone in the winner’s locker room right after the contest.
What did he think at that point, considering replays made it appear Mykhailiuk took several steps after picking up his dribble around the three-point arc?
“(That) it was a good basket,” Mykhailiuk said with a smile.
He was especially enthused to hit the game-winner with his dad, Iurri, and former club coach, Maksym Mikhelson, in attendance. They made the trip from Ukraine to see two games — Friday’s at TCU and Tuesday’s against K-State.
“It feels great to hit the game-winner in the Fieldhouse before 16,000 fans. To win the game against K-State, it’s one of the great moments of my life,” said Mykhailiuk, who was mobbed by teammates after the ball dropped through the hoop.
He said he almost committed a turnover in taking out the ball under K-State’s goal with 5.6 seconds left. The Jayhawks got possession of the ball after Dean Wade, who tied a career-high with 20 points, missed a three and the ball went out of bounds off a K-State player.
“I almost stepped over the line,” Mykhailiuk said.
Once he was given the ball as he headed up court, “I was just trying to make a layup. It was an open lane,” Mykhailiuk said. “It was four seconds left. I went to the lane.”
KU coach Bill Self said after the game he hadn’t seen the replay.
“I don’t know if he walked or not,” Self said. “Everybody said he did. Some said he did. It still was an athletic play to get to the hole on two bounces.”
Self liked the play as it developed.
“I felt decent about it with an open court,” Self said. “Svi is a much better athlete than people give him credit for. He’s a good athlete. I don’t know who was coming up behind him, maybe (Wesley) Iwandu (who had 17 points). I thought he might get his hand in and deflect the ball. I think he (Svi) took off off two feet, which was smart.”
The Jayhawks certainly enjoyed the celebration, which took place in the corner after Mykhailiuk’s bucket.
“That celebrating is kind of dangerous,” said senior Landen Lucas, who scored 18 points with 12 boards. “I kept myself out of there. I’m glad nobody got hurt.”
Of the celebration, Mykhailiuk said: “I mean it was a great moment.”
Meanwhile, one subpar game apparently was enough for Kansas freshman guard Josh Jackson, who tied a career high with 22 points after a four-point, 12-minute outing against TCU. He hit 16 points the first half. Jackson also had nine rebounds and six assists with four turnovers. Frank Mason chipped in 15 points, and Devonté Graham had 13 for the Jayhawks.
Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes had 13 points for K-State, and D.J. Johnson had 10 points before fouling out at 1:02.
KU improved to 13-1 and 2-0 in the Big 12; K-State dropped to 12-2, 1-1.
Jackson, who rammed home two vicious one-handed slams during a first-half in which he hit 7 of 8 shots, iced a three-pointer in an 18-4 KU run that turned a 32-28 deficit into a 46-36 lead with 2:11 left in the half.
Jackson’s shooting led a KU attack that accounted for 20 baskets in 32 tries in the first half (including 7 threes in 14 tries) for 62.5 percent. He also had a key bucket in the final half to bust a 75-75 tie with 8:11 left. The Jayhawks hit 53.2 percent of their shots for the game, including 11 of 22 threes. KU was 13 of 20 from the line.
Kansas State, which sizzled with 53.6 percent shooting in the first half (50.8 for the game), led by as many as nine points (24-15) in the initial half. In fact, the Wildcats used a 16-4 run to erase an early 11-8 KU lead. Stokes had five points, while Iwundu, Austin Budke and Xavier Sneed had threes in the run.
Mason hit three three-pointers in that important 18-4 run for the Jayhawks. Carlton Bragg, who hit five points in six first-half minutes, had a bucket and foul shot. Lucas grabbed seven rebounds and scored eight points in the first half. He had a bucket in the 18-4 run.
K-State’s Brown had eight points, and Dean Wade and Iwundu scored seven in the half.
Key plays in the second half included a bucket by Lucas that busted an 84-84 tie at 1:27 After Stokes hit two free throws, Lucas hit two free throws at 1:02 to bust an 86-86 deadlock. Iwandu tied it at 88 at 0:51, with KU hitting the final bucket.
KU will travel to Kansas State for the rematch on Feb. 6 in an 8 p.m. tip at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Jayhawks will next meet Texas Tech at 6:15 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas State will play Oklahoma at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.
Jackson, who had a technical foul against TCU, picked up another key ‘T’ versus K-State early in the second half. He was whistled after missing a shot, with K-State’s Iwundu hitting two free throws and then a three in a 7-0 run that helped trim KU’s 12-point lead to 56-53 with 17:23 left.
“I don’t really know. All I said is, ‘That was a foul.’ The next thing I know I was hit with a technical,” Jackson said.
Self said: “I thought it was a soft technical, but still, you can’t say, ‘That’s a foul,’ to an official. And he’s got a reputation now, so he has to keep his mouth shut.”
Azubuike to have surgery
KU freshman Udoka Azubuike will have wrist surgery on Wednesday, Self said after the game.
Self would not disclose the location.
KU’s Lucas honored
Lucas on Tuesday was chosen Big 12 player of the week after scoring 15 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in Friday’s 86-80 win at TCU. His 17 rebounds were the most for a Jayhawk since Andrew Wiggins grabbed 19 boards on Jan. 13, 2014, at Iowa State.
Mason has been player of the week twice and Jackson once so far this season.
Ward attends game
Scott “Scooter” Ward, KU’s associate athletic director for academic and career counseling, who had surgery on Oct. 7 to repair a torn aorta and additional heart surgery on Nov. 13, on Tuesday was able to attend his first basketball game of the season
Ward has been academic counselor for KU’s basketball team during Bill Self’s 14 years at KU. He is a native of Kingman, Kan., who received his bachelor’s degree in education from KU in 1991, his master’s in 1993 and Ph.D. in education with emphasis in sport psychology in 1996.
Cunliffe in the house
Kansas on Tuesday played host to prospect Sam Cunliffe, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who recently announced plans to leave Arizona State after first semester of his freshman season.
Cunliffe — who averaged 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game while starting 10 games for Arizona State — has visited Georgetown and plans on visiting Seattle University on Thursday. He scored a career-high 23 points versus The Citadel and scored in double figures in five of his 10 games.
Cunliffe attended Seattle’s Rainier Beach High his senior year of high school where he averaged 21.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the Class 3A state champs.
He was ranked No. 36 in the recruiting Class of 2016 by Rivals.com. He was the country’s 41st ranked player in ESPN’s Top 100 in 2016.
In high school, he was pursued by Arizona State , California, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Gonzaga, Utah and Colorado and others. Cunliffe will have 2 1/2 years of eligibility remaining starting in December of 2017.
Of his game, Cunliffe told Zagsblog.com, “I can break my man down and get into the paint whenever. I feel like I can play well off the ball and play well with the ball. I pride myself on my passing ability. I also rebound and play defense. I try to be as versatile as possible.”