KU freshmen shine in 82-77 overtime win at TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas – Freshmen Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji combined for 45 points as the No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks outlasted the TCU Horned Frogs, 82-77, in overtime Monday night at Schollmaier Arena. Dotson posted a game- and career-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds, while Agbaji also tallied a double-double via his 20 points and 11 boards.
The win, which broke a four-game road losing streak for the Jayhawks, moved KU to 19-6 on the year and 8-4 in Big 12 play, while TCU fell to 17-7 in 2018-19 and 5-6 in the league.
Despite leading by 12 points just over midway through the second half, Kansas was unable to hold off a determined TCU squad that had yet to lose a Big 12 home game. The Horned Frogs stormed back on a 17-2 run to take a four-point lead, 69-65, with just over a minute to play in regulation.
Redshirt-sophomore K.J. Lawson came up big for the Jayhawks on their last two possessions to help send the game to overtime. The Memphis native hit a runner in the lane to pull his team within two points with 66 seconds to play, before hitting a baseline jumper on KU’s next possession to pull the score level at 69-69. TCU couldn’t get the game-winner on its final possession as the Jayhawks headed to their third overtime of the season.
Agbaji kicked off the extra period with his second 3-pointer of the game before Dedric Lawson connected on his 13th and 14th points of the game with a turnaround jumper, putting the Jayhawks up 74-69 with 2:41 to go in OT. TCU again had an answer though, responding with a 5-0 spurt of its own to tie the score for what would be the final time on the night at 74-74 with 1:28 remaining.
K.J. Lawson again came up big and put the Jayhawks back in front for good with another mid-range jumper before Dotson put the game away with his free throw shooting. The freshman guard hit all six of his free throw attempts in the final 40 seconds of overtime, all this while the Horned Frogs struggled from the charity stripe. TCU was 6-of-13 from the free throw line in OT.
Dotson’s two charities with nine seconds to play, which notched his 24th and 25th points and a new career high, helped the Jayhawks close out the 82-77 win.
After a slow Jayhawk start to the night which saw TCU jump out to a 7-0 lead, the KU freshman duo of Agbaji and Dotson got their team’s offense going. The two combined for 16 points during a 19-7 response from KU which saw the Jayhawks take a 19-15 lead after the opening 9:32 of the half.
K.J. Lawson helped the Kansas lead get to six points over the next three minutes, with a pair of free throws and a lay-up as the Jayhawks were suddenly ahead 26-20 with 7:00 left in the opening frame. But the Horned Frogs responded with a spurt of their own as Kendric Davis scored seven-straight points during a 12-2 TCU run that handed a 32-28 lead back to the home team. KU’s Quentin Grimes nailed a fall-away jumper at the halftime buzzer to pull the two teams level as they headed to the locker rooms, 37-37.
Agbaji stayed hot after the break, scoring the Jayhawks’ first five points and kick starting a KU run that saw the Jayhawks build their lead into double-digits seven minutes into the second half. But TCU’s run over the final 6:27 of regulation got the home team back into the lead in the waning seconds, but K.J. Lawson’s two buckets in the final 66 seconds pushed the game to overtime, where Kansas would never trail.
Dotson, who tallied the first double-double of his young career, led all scorers with a career-high 25 points, which included four 3-pointers, also a career-best. Agbaji hit the 20-point plateau for the third time in his last five games and posted his second double-double with his 20 points and season-high 11 rebounds. Dedric Lawson also tallied a double-double, his 16th of the season, scoring 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The game marked the first time three Jayhawks posted a double-double in a Big 12 game since 2013.
The Kansas defense helped hold TCU to 32.5 percent (13-of-40) shooting in the second half and overtime as well as forcing eight second-half Horned Frog turnovers.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
“K.J. (Lawson) made the unbelievable play to put the game into overtime, we got the stop on the last play and then K.J. made a huge shot – I think it was as big as a shot as there was in overtime. Then those two freshmen (Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji) were just incredible, Ochai (Agbaji) and Devon (Dotson). Hopefully we’re becoming a team. Our energy was good, our enthusiasm (was good), our attitudes were good. Guys fought pretty hard and somehow we pulled it out. Give them (TCU) all the credit. They played so well for about 35 minutes and then played four of the last five and a great overtime.”
On the play of freshmen Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji:
“They got 21 rebounds and Devon had some turnovers, but God he was good. He was good, 4-of-7 from 3(-pointers) and Ochai made that huge one (3-pointer) in overtime. That’s four freshmen out there starting. Q (Quentin Grimes) had a hard time finding the bottom of the bucket. David (McCormack) gave us some good minutes; both he and Mitch (Lightfoot) gave us some good minutes. It was a grind-it-out game. It wasn’t Dedric (Lawson’s) best today and certainly, other guys had to pick us up and they did.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes
- The win made KU 3-0 in overtime games this season and 23-9 under Bill Self.
- The win also gave KU its 13th-straight win on ESPN Big Monday and moved the Jayhawks to 68-18 all-time on Big Monday, including 48-12 under Bill Self.
- The Jayhawks and Horned Frogs entered the break at a 37-37 deadlock marking the second-straight game KU and its opponent had been tied at half. Kansas is now 2-1 in those games on the season, 17-4 in the Self era.
- TCU used a 17-2 run spanning 4:20 to take a 69-65 lead over KU with 2:07 remaining. Kansas had four turnovers in that stretch.
- Kansas outrebounded its opponent for the 15th time this season, the Jayhawks are 12-3 in those meetings, 346-42 in the Self era.
- Kansas grabbed a season high 49 rebounds.
- KU’s five point overtime win is the largest margin of victory in OT in conference play since Kansas topped West Virginia 76-69 (3/3/15).
- Kansas’ 30 shots from deep were the most attempted by the Jayhawks in a game this season.
- With Dotson, D. Lawson and Agbaji each recording 10+ rebounds, it marked the first time KU has had three players with double digit rebounds since Kansas had three double figure rebounders against Valparaiso (11/15/10) and only the second time since the 1988-89 season.
- Double-doubles from Agbaji, Dotson and Lawson marked the fifth time that three Jayhawks have recorded double-doubles in a Big 12 game and the first time since Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young each recorded a double-double against Iowa State (1/9/13).
- Freshman guard Devon Dotson
- Dotson replaced his season high as the freshman scored a team high 25 points (14 in the first half), including a season high four makes from beyond the arc.
- Dotson also grabbed a season- and career-high 10 rebounds as the freshman recorded his second double-double of the season.
- Dotson played a season high 45 minutes, the most by a Jayhawk since Devonte’ Graham played 45 in an overtime victory over Duke (3/25/18). Dotson’s 45 minutes were the most by a Jayhawk in a conference game since Perry Ellis tallied 53 minutes against Oklahoma (1/4/16).
- Freshman Ochai Agbaji earned his second double-double of the season scoring 20 points while grabbing 11 rebounds.
- Agbaji has now scored 20+ in back-to-back games and three times in his last five games.
Kansas will host the West Virginia Mountaineers inside Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 16. The contest is set for 3 p.m. (CT) on ESPN. In the two squads’ first meeting this season on Jan. 19, WVU held Kansas scoreless over the final 2:34 of regulation to blow past the Jayhawks in the final seconds, 65-64, in Morgantown. West Virginia’s Jermaine Haley hit the go-ahead bucket with seven seconds remaining before two Jayhawk game-winning attempts on the other end fell short as KU suffered its second loss of the Big 12 season.
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