Longhorns outlast Jayhawks, 73-63
AUSTIN, Texas – Trailing by double-digits on multiple occasions, KU cut its deficit to four points in the final minute, but the comeback fell short as Texas held off the No. 11/12 Jayhawks, 73-63, Tuesday night inside the Erwin Center. Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji led all scorers with a career-high 24 points but 10 3-pointers along with 21 free throws helped the Longhorns knock off the Jayhawks for the first time in their last 11 tries.
Kansas’ loss, which marked just the third two-game losing streak for the Jayhawks in the last five seasons, moved KU to 16-5 on the year and 5-3 in league play. Texas elevated to 12-9 on its season and 4-4 in the Big 12.
The first 15 minutes of game action were anything but pretty for the Jayhawks. A host of missed shots and a handful of turnovers saw KU tally just two field goals over the first nine minutes of the game. Meanwhile, the Longhorns converted on five first-half 3-pointers to build a lead of 11 points, 23-12, with just under six minutes to play in the opening half.
Kansas managed to close the first frame with a flurry to get back into the game before the intermission. A Dedric Lawson steal and a Marcus Garrett lay-in ignited an 11-3 KU run to close the half. Agbaji chipped in seven points during the spurt and helped his team pull within three points, 26-23, before the halftime buzzer.
Agbaji again helped his team keep pace in the early minutes of the second half with five points in the five minutes after the restart. But UT’s Dylan Osetkowski netted six points over a four-minute span to help the Longhorns extend their lead to 39-30 with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation. But a pair of Lagerald Vick 3-pointers on KU’s next two possessions, along with five-straight points from Lawson, helped KU shave its deficit to just three points, 46-43, with less than seven minutes to play.
Osetkowski used some impressive free throw shooting over the next four minutes, going 6-for-6 from the stripe. Those charities, combined with a pair of Jase Febres 3-pointers, got the Texas lead back into double digits at 58-47 at the 3:37 mark.
The Jayhawks made one final push and cut the UT advantage to four points with 30 seconds left on the clock, but the Longhorns’ free throw shooting again thwarted the Jayhawk momentum as UT went 6-for-6 from the line to close out the game and the victory, 73-63.
Agbaji led the Jayhawks in scoring for the first time in his young KU career, going 8-for-10 from the field for a career-best 24-point outing along with seven rebounds. Lawson added 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half, while Vick rounded out the double-figure scoring Jayhawks with 10 points.
UT closed the game going 21-of-23 from the free throw line along with a 10-of-28 clip from beyond the 3-point line.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
On another poor offensive performance on the road and moving forward after another loss:
“Yeah, it was about as bad of an offense as you could run again. We actually got a little bit of rhythm in the second half, but we didn’t get stops when we got rhythm. We had multiple opportunities when down four (points) or whatever, to put real-game pressure on them in the last minute, but just didn’t get it done … Give them credit; they were better than us. Certainly, it’s disappointing, very disappointing, but we’re going through stuff that 99 percent of all other teams in America are going through right now. We just haven’t gone through it much here (at Kansas) and we’re just going to have to grind and lean on each other and hopefully get at least a little bit better in some situations.”
On mixing up the starting lineup with Ochai Agbaji:
“He wasn’t good, he was great. He’s becoming obviously, one of our go-to guys, our best players. I thought he played terrific. I thought he played athletic. But he hadn’t played a lot (prior to tonight), so to expect him to go out and be your best player in a road game in the Big 12 (Conference) is probably asking a lot. But he was our best player, by far, tonight.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes
- The loss ended a Kansas 10-game winning streak against Texas, a run which started Feb. 22, 2014.
- The loss also dropped the Jayhawks to 88-12 under Bill Self in games following a loss. KU has now lost two or more consecutive games just eight times under Self and only five times since 2006-07.
- Since 2013-14, the Jayhawks are now 38-4 following a loss.
- Kansas trailed at the half for the eighth time this season and is now 6-2 in those games.
- Kansas entered the game averaging just 5.7 fastbreak points in league play, but outscored the Longhorns 15-2 in that category Tuesday.
- KU led for just :09 seconds on the night, marking the shortest time with a lead for the Jayhawks this season.
- Kansas held Texas to just 16 points in the paint, which ties a season-low for a KU opponent this season.
- The Jayhawks’ 27 rebounds marked the fewest by KU since Kansas grabbed 25 rebounds against Kansas State on Jan. 13, 2018.
- After its 13-for-16 clip from the free throw line, the Jayhawks have shot 75.5 percent (40-of-53) from the free throw line in their last four outings. In the two games prior, KU was a combined 27-for-48 (56.3 percent).
- KU’s five losses on the road this season marks the most by a Jayhawk team since the 2014-15 team lost six.
- Paired with their 7-of-7 clip from the charity stripe in their first meeting with KU on Jan. 14, UT was 28-of-30 from the free throw line (93.3 percent) in their two games against KU this season. UT entered Tuesday night shooting 68.7 percent from the stripe this season.
- Texas’ 18 free throws made in the second half are the most by a KU opponent in a half since Austin Peay sank 18 in the second half during the NCAA Tournament (3/17/16).
- Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji recorded his first career start for the Jayhawks.
- With a career-best 24 points, Agbaji registered his second double-digit and first 20-point scoring performance of his career.
- With his three steals and two blocks, Tuesday marked Dedric Lawson’s fourth game this season with multiple steals and multiple blocks in a single game.
- Lawson’s 13 points marked his 19th double-figure scoring effort of the season and 75th of his career.
Kansas and Texas Tech will meet for the first time this season on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 3 p.m. (Central) in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on CBS. Kansas leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 34-5, including a 17-1 mark in Allen Fieldhouse. Last year the Red Raiders defeated the Jayhawks, 85-73, to claim their first win against KU in Lawrence. Kansas has won 17 of the last 18 meetings in the series beginning Jan. 16, 2010.
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