Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Newman, KU Kick off Italy Exhibition Slate with Rout

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Newman, KU Kick off Italy Exhibition Slate with Rout

Article excerpt

It occurred halfway across the world, but Malik Newman still made a good first impression in a Kansas basketball uniform.

Newman, the Mississippi State transfer forced to sit out last season, scored a team-high 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting as the Jayhawks routed HSC Roma 90-56 on Wednesday at Honey Sport City in Rome. It was the first of four exhibition games on the team's tour of Italy.

Devonte' Graham pitched in 14 points and nine assists to give KU's starting backcourt a strong effort in its first action without national player of the year Frank Mason. Udoka Azubuike (13 points) and Billy Preston (10) rounded out the Jayhawks' double-digit scorers.

"You know what, our guards looked really good," KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said in a postgame radio interview. "I thought Doke (Azubuike) got off to a slow start, and Billy did some good things, but our guards are really good. Then you throw Svi (Mykhailiuk) and we've got four experienced, really good guards."

Graham hit a 3-pointer on KU's first possession and it was off to the races in a contest the Jayhawks never trailed.

Leading 27-20 in the second quarter, KU -- fueled by its double-digit scorers and Mykhailiuk (eight points on 4-for-5 shooting) -- put the game away in decisive fashion with a 50-12 stretch. A 19-3 run to start the third quarter capped the rally and gave the Jayhawks a 77-32 advantage over HSC Roma, a team comprised mostly of teenagers from two local clubs.

KU coach Bill Self pulled his starters at that point, and the Jayhawk reserves, led by Charlie Moore (seven points, game-high 21 minutes off the bench), finished off the victory. KU forced 33 turnovers in the romp.

"We got up early, got a lead and didn't do what we should have defensively," Townsend said. "But it was good. It was a good first game."

Azubuike's third monster dunk of the contest altered the goal structure enough to cause a brief delay just before halftime. Playing in his first contest since a wrist injury last December ended his freshman campaign after only 11 games, the 7-footer made six of his seven shots and, perhaps more importantly, didn't commit a foul in his 13 minutes. …

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