🏀 Kansas Overpowers Oklahoma, 69-62, Advances to Big 12 Semifinals
KANSAS CITY – No. 11 Kansas led for all but 2:30 to defeat Oklahoma, 69-62, in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Quarterfinals on Thursday, led by junior Ochai Agbaji’s career-high 26 points.
Kansas improves to 20-8 (12-6 Big 12) to advance to the Big 12 Championship Semifinals, where it will take on the winner of Texas vs. Texas Tech on Friday at 8:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN or ESPN2.
The win gives the Jayhawks their 20th win of the season, marking the 32nd consecutive season Kansas recorded 20 or more victories in a season, dating back to 1989-90.
Kansas jumped out the gate early on Oklahoma, leading by as many as 23 in the first half. The Jayhawks would go into the locker room with a 20-point advantage, 35-15, marking their fourth time this season that KU led by 20 or more at the break.
Oklahoma marched back in the second, drawing to within five points with 9:12 remaining. Agbaji went off by scoring 14 consecutive points for the Jayhawks, including three consecutive 3-pointers to put KU up, 62-54 with 5:34 left in the game.
The Sooners continued to battle with the Jayhawks over the final five minutes, drawing to within three points at 62-59 with 3:29 remaining.
Kansas would go on to hold off Oklahoma, 69-62, led by three players in double-figures scoring, including Agbaji (26) Marcus Garrett (17) and Mitch Lightfoot (11). The Jayhawks shot 46% (26-of-56) from the field in the game.
The Jayhawks relied on the bench down the stretch on Thursday, scoring 15 points off the bench, including Lightfoot’s 11 points and four points from redshirt freshman Dajuan Harris. Harris added four steals tying his career high.
MOMENT OF THE GAME
Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Ochai Agbaji helped the Jayhawks hold off a strong second half for Oklahoma, scoring 14 consecutive points, including three 3-pointers to help KU gain a 62-54 advantage with 5:34 left in the game. Agbaji’s run proved influential down the stretch, as Kansas held off Oklahoma, 62-69.
- Kansas improves to 3-1 in neutral games this season.
- Kansas is now 20-8, giving KU 20 victories for the 32nd consecutive season beginning in 1989-90.
- The Jayhawks also improved to 21-3 in Big 12 Championship Quarterfinal games.
- Kansas held Oklahoma to just 15 points in the first half, the fewest points allowed in a half all season. The Jayhawks also led by 20 points, marking the fourth time this season Kansas led by 20 or more at the break.
- Junior Ochai Agbaji made his 75th consecutive start on Thursday night, which ranks him 12th in KU history on the consecutive start list. The next highest is No. 11 Greg Dreiling who started 78 consecutive games from 1984-86.
- Ochai Agbaji scored a career-high 26 points on 9-of-14 from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, surpassing his previous high of 24 points set against Texas on January 29, 2019. Agbaji’s 26 points marks his second 20-point game this season and 20th of his career.
- Senior Marcus Garrett scored 17 points on Thursday, marking his 13th game this season in double figures, including his third-straight and fifth in his last six games.
- Senior Mitch Lightfoot scored 11 points on 5-of-10 from the field, marking the second most points he scored this season, behind his career-high 14 points against Omaha on Dec. 11.
The Jayhawks will play the winner of the Texas-Texas Tech contest on Friday, March 12 at 8:30 p.m. Kansas is 22-16 all-time in league tournament semifinals, including 14-6 in the Big 12 Championship.