Brought to you by Lawrence Photo Store

7th-ranked Kansas fights for hard-earned, 78-75 win over rival Wildcats in Manhattan

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) pops his jersey and he and the Jayhawks leave the court following their 78-75 win over Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Manhattan — The 7th-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team bullied Kansas State on the glass, played tough on defense when it counted and got another game-winning play from senior Ochai Agbaji.

Business as usual for the Jayhawks, right?

Hardly.

One day after the passing of Kansas coach Bill Self’s father, Bill Self Sr., the Jayhawks dug deep and found a way to steal a 78-75 victory on a day they didn’t have their best.

Kansas State did for much of the game, and, according to the Jayhawks, that made the victory that much sweeter.

Related document

Box score: Kansas 78, K-State 75 ( .PDF )

“We knew that if we didn’t (fight), they were going to run away with it,” KU junior Christian Braun said after the victory. “We were down 16 at half. So, there was no choice but to fight back. We played the worst half of basketball we’ve played this year. They might’ve played their best. And we still ended up with the win.”

Said KU sophomore Jalen Wilson, who Self said may have been the best they had ever seen: “That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing.”

Added Agbaji: “There’s not a 16-point bucket. It was like a slow grind throughout the second half.”

All of it added up to the 63rd victory for Kansas in the last 69 meetings with their Sunflower State rivals. None of it came easy.

The Jayhawks (16-2 overall, 5-1 Big 12) gave every ounce of energy they had to survive a 35-point explosion from K-State guard Nijel Pack, and it was not until the final seconds of Saturday’s game at Bramlage Coliseum that they found out whether that was enough.

Kansas led for just 1:07 the entire game, but the most important of those came in the final eight seconds, when Agbaji scored what proved to be the game-winning bucket on a hard drive to the rim with 8 seconds to play.

Kansas followed that up by forcing Pack to miss a contested shot from deep and Agbaji’s two free throws — which gave him 29 points on the day — set the final margin.

Asked about that final shot by Pack, KU junior Christian Braun admitted he never saw it.

“I was turned around, just praying it didn’t go in,” Braun said. “The guy didn’t miss a shot all night. He played great. He’s really tough.”

Pack (35 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 8-of-12 from 3-point range) completely controlled the first half. Whether he was knocking in open 3-pointers, playing off the ball or creating for others, KU had no answer for the 6-foot sophomore guard from Indianapolis.

He hit his first three 3-pointers from pretty much the same spot on the floor — deep corner opposite the KU bench — and had 19 points, on 7-of-8 shooting (5-of-6 from 3-point range) with 7:31 still to play in the first half. That total grew to 22 by halftime and looked like it might be enough when Pack hit yet another 3-pointer on a baseline inbounds play with around 6 minutes to play that gave K-State (10-8, 2-5) a five-point lead and put the momentum back in the home team’s corner. But Kansas kept coming and did not stop until the final horn sounded.

A big reason for that was the job Dajuan Harris Jr. did on Pack in the second half.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him be that (firm),” Agbaji said of Harris’ plan to check Pack in the second half. “He was just like, ‘I’m taking him and I’m staying on him the whole entire time.’”

Self liked the passion and was thrilled with the way Harris defended Pack in the second half. But he added that the 6-1, 170-pound Jayhawk didn’t have much of a choice.

“It was kind of like we narrowed our choices down to one and then he was like, ‘OK, I’ll take him,’” Self joked. “But he did a good job on him the second half.”

“He was a first-team All-American today,” Self added of Pack. “He may have been the best guard in America today. And we may have had the best wing in America today (Agbaji).”

None of KU’s efforts — be it Agbaji’s heroics, Wilson’s toughness or Harris’ defensive effort in the second half — would have mattered had it not for Kansas’ performance on the offensive glass.

It wasn’t just the fact that the Jayhawks out-rebounded K-State 18-7 on the offensive end — it was 18-4 at one point. It was the way they did it.

David McCormack led everybody with 15 rebounds and eight offensive boards. And Wilson also reached double digits, grabbing 10 boards and four off the offensive glass. Many of those boards, and others like them, led to a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points for KU.

“That’s where we won the game,” Self said. “They played better than us, but we were pretty tough on the glass.”

Wilson, who added 16 points to his 10 rebounds, stepped slowly off the postgame podium after meeting with the media, moving like an old man trying to get out of bed in the morning. It was the perfect illustration of how hard he had played and he confirmed it by saying simply, “I was on the floor a lot today,” as he left the room.

That’s the way they teach it at KU, of course. But there wasn’t a person in that locker room on Saturday that would have disagreed with the claim that this effort, on this day, was a little extra than normal, even by Kansas standards.

Wilson tried to sum up why during his postgame comments.

“With this kind of game, and this win, I think it’s bigger than us, bigger than coach; this is for everybody in Kansas,” Wilson said. “I don’t know how long this rivalry’s been going on, but when it’s this type of game and we’re over here, it was the 30 of us that traveled here versus the entire arena, it seemed like.”

There was one more person on their side, too. Tearing up at times during Saturday’s postgame media session, Self said he thought his father would have been awfully pleased with the way this one went.

“He would’ve respected how hard the kids tried,” he said. “That would’ve been special for him.”

Comments

Robert Brock

The officials tried to steal the game (awarding Ochai two shots when fouled shooting a three-pointer) but the Hawks roughed out a W.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Matt Tait

Super weird. Sounds like they wound up saying that Ochai was fouled on the floor, but he got hit on his way down and shooters are shooters until they land. Have to give them room to do so. Weird call. Self said after the game that he still had not been given an explanation.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Barry Weiss

It looked like they were holding up two fingers for two shots. Wouldn't it have been a 1 and 1 if he was fouled on the flour? I don't think they were in the bonus yet. Weird.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Tony Bandle

Dear Kansas State University
,
Jayhawk Nation would like to thank you for tearing down Ahearn Field House and replacing
it with Bramlage, the Hexagon of Dumb. KU's 29 - 5 home away from home has once more
been a delight to visit. Take care and have a nice day.

Sincerely

Jayhawks Everywhere.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bryce Landon

Last I knew, Ahearn Fieldhouse still stands as the home of the KSU volleyball team. Nice try, though.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Armen Kurdian

Otherwise known as Allen Field House - West

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Keith Gellar

Hard earned? Lol...so we abt to hang banners in the rafters now? Hard earned because we sucked doesnt really make it a positive. A win is a win but this is ksu we talking abt. Even with self not being there we should have drubbed them. No excuses. Shocking we let a team coached by weber stop us from double digit beat down.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Matt Tait

Couple of things...

1. Self was there. Not sure where you heard he wasn't.

2. K-State's got talent and is a few points away from being 5-2 in the Big 12 instead of 2-5.

3. Did you watch that game? I can't remember seeing a full team play that consistently hard in a long time. Those dudes laid it all out there. A big reason they had to do that was because of how poorly they played in the first half. But they still did it. Wins on the road are always hard to come by. And this one was no exception. Harder in many ways.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Dale Rogers

Well, they did just beat not one, but two, ranked teams in their previous two games. One of those on the road. One of those was Texas Tech, who took us down earlier this month. KSU has a very good team. They were late in putting it all together but anyone who overlooks them is likely to pay.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Steve Zimmerman

I agree, we sucked - but you should give coach a break today, he just lost a loved one. KSU is a really good team because of those 2 guards. The rest, I doubt it. But they can defend well as a team, let's just give them credit. We fought back with rebounds, that's how we won - not because of scoring. Sad but true.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Thomas Harrison

Helped us to continue to lead
Big 12!
Rock Chalk!!!!

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Paul Rupp

Gritty win. Pack was fantastic--out of his mind. Our kids' will to win and desire to push it over the finish line was impressive. Ugly wins count as much as "easy wins." This was a fun one to watch (since we won).

Were we not at all good in the interior defense the first half? We were horrible. DM and JW countered (kind of) by rebounding, when we had the opportunity. First line defense near the rim needs to get a lot better, obviously.

KSU beat TTU, UT, and lost a number of games by just a few points. They could easily be a top 20 team if they had just a bit more toughness in them, slightly stronger front court, or with a little more luck. I'm guessing they will find it before season's end.

Glad the second game is in Allen with these folks.

RCJH.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Steve Zimmerman

Yeah, unheard of this season. Those 2 guards of theirs are really good, reminds me of Frank & Devonte. They're a better team in terms of basketball x's & o's. We got help from rebounds and being able to shut Pack.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Blake Brown

Gotta love the intensity and effort in the 2nd half. It was the most spirited we've been so far this season. JWill, Och, Harris and DMac brought it unlike ever before.
Great win. Epic game.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Dirk Medema

Always good to get a road win, and especially in the little apple. Guess

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Dirk Medema

Always good to get a road win, and especially in the little apple. No commemorative videos this year.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Dirk Medema

CB had an off night shooting but great to get 5 assists from your off guard.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Mike Auer

Tony Battle,

Let’s not forget KU beat KSU in the last 5 games in Ahearn. Thanks Larry! It has a lot more to do with our teams that which dump in Manhattan they decide to play us in.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Mallory Briggans

Let me correct you Dirk .........Braun didnt have off night shooting..........he had ANOTHER off night shooting he hasnt played all that great since we got into conference play ........so all that talk about his NBA stock you can put on hold

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Steve Zimmerman

True Mallory, I'm, too, really disappointed with the way CB played - he hit last minute shot in previous game, alright. But he's better than what we're seeing now. He's been passing out good looks, lost his man on D.. He can help in our scoring drought. Who's really able to score than Ochai in our team? I mean, consistently.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Mallory Briggans

Kentucky lost today so how many games back are we all-time .we've gained 2 games so far this season .............just wondering where we are at

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Matt Tait

Three back. Kentucky's at 2,342 all-time and KU now has 2,339.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Kenneth Johnson

It should be noted that many of Kentucky's wins came in the 30s and 40s, before the NCAA came into being -- allowing Adolph Rupp the cheat and cheat and cheat.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Rodney Crain

- KU has played 4 more seasons than UK

- KU has played over 150+ more games than UK

- KU has a lower winning percentage than not just UK, but also N.C.

- KU has more losses all time, than anyone in the top 4 of all time wins (Duke is #4)

- N.C. is 29 wins behind KU, and they have played 12 fewer seasons.

It's meaningless

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Lee Short

I don't find it meaningless, but obviously, you can always look at it that way. Your prerogative.

No one is saying there are no other ways to look at this. With statistics, you can always look at a context that gives a different look and feel.

Too, me, just the raw meaning, in and of itself, says something about the total history. I also like to hear about total wins by coaches over their lifetime, even if their winning % may be lower than those with not as many wins, etc.

Hopefully, we will keep reporting on this march to this historic milestone as it is important to many of us lifelong KU fans.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Micky Baker

I agree. Here is why I don't think it's meaningless. Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp were Jayhawks Alumni. Kansas influenced both of those programs and wouldn't be what they are without Kansas' influence, and ironically the guy that invented the game is the only KU coach ever with a losing record. Here is one reason why that is important. In ten seasons, Naismith was 55 and 60. That is right, fewer than 12 games per season. Kentucky went 25 and 43 in its first ten seasons, same number of years Naismith was at Kansas. They had a worse start than Kansas had, but fewer losses because they played 57 fewer games than Kansas did during its first ten seasons. Kentucky played a lot fewer games during their early seasons, which is why the lost fewer games because they had a lot of coaches with losing records. Kansas has had only 8 head coaches all time, and only one with a losing record and Kansas played a lot more games in the early years than Kentucky did.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Brett McCabe

Rodney, you are missing the point.

Who has the most NFL rushing yards in a single season? Jim Brown, the greatest running back of all time, or someone else.

Who held the single-season home run record after Maris hit 61....Babe Ruth in 154 games or Roger Maris in 162?

Did Hank Aaron hit more homers than Ruth?

Who has the most passing completions in the NFL? Is it the guy who was most efficient, or had the highest QB ranking?

The most wins in NCAA history, is just like most coaching wins, most career rushing yards, etc., etc. It's a record, it's valid. No need to minimize it. It is a thing.

If you want to start wearing Kentucky Blue, go ahead. But most wins is most wins. Period. End of story.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Kenneth Johnson

It should be noted that many of Kentucky's wins came in the 30s and 40s, before the NCAA came into being. Adolph Rupp regularly flaunted his utter disregard for the rules of fair play in recruiting and routinely paid his players throughout the 30s and 40s. His 52-53 squad even received the death penalty. Joe Hall was reprimanded for recruiting violations. The tradition of breaking rules continued even under the Eddie Sutton regime. Asst. Coach Dwayne Casey was banned from coaching in the NCAA for five years for being willfully involved in rules violations and providing false and misleading information to the NCAA. And most of us know and remember all the troubles caused by Rick Pitino and John Calipari.

So the Wildcat fans can brag about the all-time wins, but should be ashamed at how they were achieved.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Rodney Crain

Ok fools listen up -

You can not dismiss the facts in my post to make up your own narrative.  

- Micky he was a coach of our program, you count him as 1 of the 8 we have had right?  There is no * saying he was but...  So if you count our first coaches wins, you have to count our first coaches losses.  If you read the Naismith bio he was not hired nor wanted to be the coach.  Your post is worthless.  Think before you post.

- Lee records have to be founded on equal ground, or a *descriptor explaining why they are not.  

- Brett, my word talk about taking the cake.  You prove my point, then list people who do not have those records anymore and then combine coaching wins, a hard fact, with a record that has to have a *descriptor because we have played more games than any of the schools listed.   I am actually not sure you can grasp the level of crazy you are throwing together in your post.  You are talking about seasons, not all time stats.  

I don't care about any other schools, but I am a fan of facts and do like to compare apples to apples.  Not apples to the Webb Telescope like you bunch are.  

In closing, again all time wins mean nothing in college basketball.  Not unless you include the number of seasons, games played (no matter who nor when, nor even if the coach was trying to win) and an *.  

Of course on here where reality is suspended, it does not surprise me that there are a few who puff out their chest to crow about something that is meaningless anywhere else.  As I have said many times it is quite amusing.        

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Micky Baker

Strawman. I didn't say we don't count them because he was the first coach. I did say that Kentucky did not play nearly as many games in its first 10 seasons. And they had fewer losses because of that, and a worse winning percentage than Naismith. But if you weren't so intellectually lazy and think your opinion is the only one that matters. You're not the smartest person in any room you walk into. And you are not the most important, even when you're the only one in it. Somebody else has been there that is better than you, which is likely everyone you know.

Projecting out the win-loss record in their earlier year to as many games would result in more losses. Not that it matters to you, because in your world you're the only one that is right and you have to revert to ad hominems instead of just having a discussion. You act like a bratty politician.

In the last 25 years KU has had more NCAA Tourney losses than any other program, because KU is the only one that has went every single one of those years, so they have 24 losses. Nobody has more, because nobody else has went as often as KU has. It is the same point I was making. There is a difference of 3.5 percentage points difference in winning percentage between the two.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Armen Kurdian

Then take it from the last 30 years or so. KU was behind UK & UNC and has since caught up, so better overall winning percentage, more conference championships, never missed a tournament appearance since our probation year.

Only thing is that we have one title since '88, vice, what, 10 or so for Duke, UK, & UNC combined.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

John Smith

Details Details

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Rodney Crain

I love this John! Semantics who needs them.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bill Kiekel

Bottom Line - A win is a win !
Proud of this lineup of KU players - They never gave up.
Thinking of Coach Self's personal loss....

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bryce Landon

It was truly embarrassing that we fell behind by 17 to the last-place team in the conference, that we allowed a KSU team that scores 68 PPG to score 50 on us on 60%-70% shooting from the floor, and that we allowed Nijel Peck to score a career high 35 on us. But it was absolutely wonderful that we showed toughness in the second half, grinded and grinded and grinded, overcame the 17-point hole, and won the game in the end!

All season long I have complained that this team, while more talented and athletic than last year's team, was no tougher than last year's team. Today I saw a level of toughness in the Jayhawks that I have not seen since our run to the 2012 Final Four. Remember when we were down big to Purdue in the Round of 32, only for us to come back and win it in the final minute of the game? Today's win at KSU reminded me of the Purdue game from the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks are finally showing me the toughness they lacked early on this year. And if they can display that toughness consistently, they have a chance to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2018!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Wuck the Fildcats!

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Micky Baker

I don't think that it's embarrassing. K-State made plays in the first half, and to not give them credit for it is not the way I would go about it. We made plays in the second half cut their scoring by half in the second half, and dominated on the boards and when it was most important, our guys hit their free throws. I was a little upset at some of our guys during the first half. On one of Pack's shots from the corner, CB had him covered, and left him there before Harris could get on him. Pack shot, made it when CB backed off. I do not know if it was because Harris was late getting down the floor or if CB was supposed to stay on Pack on a switch. Then we missed some critical free throws in the first half. We couldn't stop the other guard from driving and we were too slow to get position when he drove it, especially down the right side of the lane. When we did stop him from getting to the bucket, the guy on the backside did not demonstrate fundamental defense by keeping his eye on the ball and his man, and if we had done that, we probably would have prevented 2 or 3 of Pack's made shots in the first half and would have gotten a couple of more steals. That could have turned the game 180 in the first half with the free throws and the weak-side defender keeping his eye on his man and the ball. In the second half, we did get one or two steals that way.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Rodney Crain

I agree Bryce. At least you could point to Pack, who was locked in during the first half. Embarrassing to KU in the 1st half yes, very Embrarrassing for Bruce, his players and the KSU fans in the 2nd half. To have a comeback like that on the road will help us as the seasons carries on. We will never feel we are out of a game. We learned something rare during a season.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Andy Godwin

Is it possible to be the Big 12’s Most Valuable and Most Improved player, because senior Ochai Agbaji would get my votes (whatever that is worth)? I will admit that when he declared for the draft last year, I was skeptical (again whatever that opinion is worth). From his redshirt Freshman year when he got called into premature duty to now, you have seen an individual with raw athletic ability turn into one of the best players in the country. His basket to give KU the lead against KSU for the first time since the 17.27-minute mark in the first half when KU led 7 to 5, was a thing of absolute beauty. In years past he would have been called for charging, but he literally floated by the KSU player and gently laid the ball through the hoop for a 76-75 lead with 7 seconds remaining. Kudos to Mr. Agbaji because whatever the NBA “experts” told him to work on, he has significantly improved his game (only blemish yesterday was missing all 3 free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt). So, my cheers will be MVP-MIP, MVP-MIP! Rock Chalk.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Clarence Glasse

Well written post!

RCJH

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Layne Pierce

Kstate did everything they could to win, and we simply refused to give in. Our rebounding was
incredible. Early in the second half, Wilson scored 3 times off offensive rebounds.

And no KState is not a great team, but they are a good team. And they can beat anyone in the league. Thank God, it was not us, yesterday.

Last year's team would have lost this game.

RCJH

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Benjamin Shear

Matt, good article. Though I'm confused why there are two post-game articles on here, both with the box score. Zac's article was the hot-take? But then instead of updating it, you write one? Both are great.

I'm not complaining. Just trying to figure out the best place to leave my post-game comment...First world problem, I know. :)

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Blake Brown

One more comment about the game. It appeared some of the K-State players were talking trash and got in our faces a few times and each time, I noticed our players ignored it and moved on and eventually took care of business. Classy.

OTOH, after K-State beat Texas, they flashed the upside down horns sign to the crowd in mass. Loved it. It was mindful of when I went to an Arkansas home football game against Ole Miss this past season and many of the Hog fans wore caps with the upside down horn logo out of their dislike, my word, theirs would be hate, for the Longhorns which goes back to the Southwest Conference days when they were arch rivals.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bryce Landon

The sign of an immature team that can't handle success. There should have been some technical fouls on KSU that would have put a stop to that nonsense. Good thing KU didn't let the Pussycats drag them down to their level and shut them up in the end.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Marty Sedlacek

It's time to change the rules and not allow coaches to stand on the floor during the games. A lot of coaches do it, and it shrinks the floor for the opposing team. Yesterday, Patrick Ewing helped his team's D, by taking away the sideline in front of the Georgetown bench. And Bruce W. used his body on the floor to slow down a KU fast break. Let's get back to 5 v 5 basketball, and keep the coaches on the bench.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Benny Armstrong

A savvy way to take care of Weber would be to run your lane on the break intentionally wide and take a hit for the team. Without looking up the rules, I'd imagine at minimum it's a dead ball foul and free throws and probably a sideline warning. At worst I could see it being a technical on Weber and a sideline warning. Would make him think twice about being out there waiving his hands and squeak yelling at his players.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Micky Baker

If Weber were to get two technicals, then he is ejected from the game. It should be ended the first time he does it by issuing a Technical. No reason for it. It isn't like getting 3 feet closer is going to make his players hear him better.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bville Hawk

Just judging by the views on TV apparently masks aren't required in Manhattan, KS. Meanwhile back in the Peoples Republic of Douglas County masks are required.

Remind me again what masking is intended to accomplish and why it is forced upon us?

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Rodney Crain

lol.

Bville if you don't get why a mask helps after almost 2 years of this, reminding you why ain't going to make a difference.

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Joshua Tate

KSU(Pack) couldn't miss in the first half and KU couldn't play defense. I even turned off the game for the last couple of minutes in the first half. Glad I turned it back on for the second! What a comeback! Gritty win. Hopefully the guys can start playing complete games soon; a first half like that will end a tournament run quite quickly...

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Dirk Medema

Bville - It’s folk tales come to life:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_E...

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bville Hawk

Hey Dirk, I think this link works better, but point well taken regardless.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_E...

8 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Commenting has been disabled for this item.