Agbaji and Braun lift Kansas to win at home against TCU
Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
LAWRENCE, Kan. –The Kansas Jayhawks finished strong Thursday night, coming from behind in the second half to outscore the TCU 72-68 at Allen Fieldhouse on the back of a home run.
The victory improved the Jayhawks to 24-6 overall and 13-4 in Big 12 Conference play. TCU fell to 19-10 and 8-9 in the league. No. 6/7 Kansas will now host Texas on Saturday and can claim at least a share of the conference championship with a victory.
Looking to avenge a 74-64 loss to the Horned Frogs two days prior, the Jayhawks came out inspired Thursday in front of a full house crowd. Ochai Agbaji, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the game to give Kansas a 12-4 lead in the first media timeout. Kansas hit four of its first five shots and went 7-0 to take the eight-point lead.
The Jayhawks continued to build from there, extending their run to 13-2 and taking an 18-6 lead when Agbaji hit a layup on a pass from Christian Braun. After a TCU field goal, Mitch Lightfoot converted a hook to push back the lead to 12 at 20-8 in the second media timeout of the half.
The 12-point lead was the biggest Kansas held, however, as TCU got to work in the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Jayhawks managed to hold their lead to at least seven, until JaKobe Coles hit a 3-pointer at 5:06 to make it a four-point game at 26-22. The Horned Frogs cut it to two less than two minutes later, and eventually tied the Jayhawks with 1:30 left in the half when Mike Miles hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 33.
Braun hit a layup to make it 35-33 in favor of the Jayhawks, but the Horned Frogs scored with 33 seconds left to tie it at 35 at halftime. Kansas shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half at 13 for 26. Agbaji had 14 points in the first half on 6-for-9 shooting.
Kansas scored the first basket of the half on a Jalen Wilson layup, before TCU tied the game. Kansas went up two again to 39-37, before TCU tied it at 39. From there, TCU hit a 3-pointer to take a 42-39 at 16:42 to take a lead that he wouldn’t make it close to eight minutes.
The Jayhawks finally pulled back ahead with 9:03 left when Braun hit a 3-pointer on a pass from Wilson to make it 56-55. The two teams traded leads again, before Agbaji took control. He first fouled for a one-on-one and hit both free throws to put Kansas in the lead at 60-59. The elder then landed a steal and took it to the other end of the field for a dunk to give him 22 points and put Kansas up three at 62-59 with 6:29 left. It marked Kansas’ biggest lead since leading 33-30 in the first half.
The Horned Frogs brought it down to one, but David McCormack then hit a pair of free throws to make it 64-61, before Braun hit another 3-pointer to put Kansas ahead 67-61 with 3: 26 to play, forcing a TCU time out. Kansas pushed the lead to eight when Dajuan Harris Jr. hit a layup to make it 69-61. TCU brought it down to three at 71-68, but Miles missed a layup and Wilson hit a free throw to make it a final four.
Braun finished with 12 points on just 4 of 4 shooting, while adding six rebounds in 35 minutes. Harris had 11 points and three assists, while McCormack finished with 10 points. Wilson had nine points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-digit rebounding game of the season.
Emmanuel Miller led TCU with 18 points.
Kansas will host Senior Day on Saturday against Texas at 3 p.m., on ESPN.