Sophomore guard Malik Newman scored 12 of his 32 points in overtime as top-seeded Kansas defeated second-seeded Duke 85-81 in a classic Midwest Regional final Sunday at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
The showdown between teams representing two storied programs lived up to its billing.
Junior guard Lagerald Vick added 14 points as Kansas (31-7) earned its 15th Final Four berth, its first since 2012 after losing regional finals in each of the past two years. Senior guards Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk both had 11 points.
“There is a lot of players out there that deserve the best of the best, and nobody more than Svi and Devonte’,” Kansas head coach Bill Self told CBS Sports afterward. “We’ve come up short each and every year. But they get to experience what the very best of the best is, and I’m so happy for them.”
Kansas will face Villanova, which won the East Region title earlier in the day by defeating Texas Tech, in Saturday’s Final Four at San Antonio.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, with a four-freshman starting lineup plus senior holdover Grayson Allen from the 2015 national championship team, was denied a record-setting 13th trip to the Final Four as a head coach.
Freshman guard Trevon Duval scored 20 points, fellow frosh Gary Trent Jr. had 17 points, freshman forward Marvin Bagley III supplied 16 points and Allen finished with 12 for the Blue Devils (29-8).
“I think both teams were deserving of winning, and that’s why it came down to a possession right at the end of the game and went into overtime,” Krzyzewski said. “I want to congratulate Kansas. They’re superb, superbly coached, and they’re as quick a team as we’ve played all year.
“And I want to congratulate my guys. You know, they’ve gotten better throughout, and they played winning basketball today. And I feel badly for them because I thought they were deserving of winning, too.”