Brought to you by Lawrence Photo Store

Ochai Agbaji wows crowd, tops ratings on yet another big night in KU win over TCU

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) and Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) celebrate a dunk by Agbaji during the second half against TCU on Friday, March 11, 2022 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) and Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) celebrate a dunk by Agbaji during the second half against TCU on Friday, March 11, 2022 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. by Nick Krug

1 – Ochai Agbaji – The dunk was insane. The aggressive mindset was off the charts once again. And his stats reflected all of it. Agbaji led the Jayhawks with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, again by just connecting on 2-of-6 3-point attempts to follow up his 1-of-6 showing from the night before. It’s hard to imagine any player being more locked in and confident than Agbaji is right now. He’s the best player in the Big 12 Conference and he knows it. What’s crazy is, rather than wearing down, he appears to just be getting stronger.

2 – Mitch Lightfoot – Lightfoot followed up Thursday’s spectacular game with another gem. Short on blocks in this one, Lightfoot made up for it with a career-high 15 points, scoring at will wherever he wanted. He also added 2 steals to the 2 blocks to keep his impact high on both ends. Asked after the game if this was his best game as a Jayhawk, Lightfoot said it would have to be up there. He also said that, with a maximum of just seven games remaining in his KU career, he has flipped the switch to playing as hard as he possibly can every night for every minute. It’s working tremendously and he has given Kansas a completely new element on offense.

3 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson scored just 9 points but only took 6 shots. He spent the rest of the night setting others up, finishing with 5 assists and just one turnover. We focus so much on Wilson’s ability to hit the glass and turn the corner and get downhill toward the rim that sometimes we forget that he can be a terrific table setter. That variety of skills helps ensure that, no matter what part of Wilson’s game may be off on a particular night, he still has two or three areas he can tap into that really help this team. He has seemed full of fire in recent weeks, too, perhaps sensing that money time has arrived.

4 – Remy Martin – Speaking of money time, Martin played his best game in months, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting in 19 minutes. That last part was the best part, as Kansas coach Bill Self was encouraged enough by Martin’s quickness on offense and effort on defense to leave him on the floor for nearly half the game. Martin scored off the bounce and also hit a couple of jumpers. He misfired on one 3-pointer that, had it gone, surely would’ve led to the unleashing of that signature Remy Martin personality and flare that Kansas fans grew to love early in the season. Maybe it’s still coming. But even if it’s not, more games like this one and the one he delivered Thursday can help Kansas. The best truly may be yet to come still for last offseason’s No. 1 transfer.

5 – Christian Braun – Braun’s shot was a little off in this one, particularly on drives to the rim. But he hit one big three, grabbed 6 rebounds and played 33:13 while maxing out in the effort department. He also played a big role in KU’s early defensive effort, which stifled and suffocated the Horned Frogs out of anything and everything they hoped to get. Also worth noting tonight: Braun’s 6 rebounds in this one moved him into the top spot among all rebounders at this week’s Big 12 tournament.

6 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – He turned it over three times, but also dished 5 assists and swiped 2 steals in 24:35. His lob pass to Agbaji was certainly one of the biggest highlights of the night, and his effort continues to be maxed out at all times. At one point, after nearly giving the ball away near midcourt, he went fully horizontal and full extension, diving out of bounds to save the ball and the possession. Even when he got up off the floor, KU coach Bill Self lit into him a little bit. That’s mostly because the standard and expectations are so high for Harris and no one knows that better than the KU point guard himself.

7 – Joe Yesufu – The reserve guard hit a big 3 that helped blow the game open and finished with two rebounds and an assist in 14:20 of game action. He’s not always the prettiest sight out there, but he does seem to belong. The most important thing I’ve noticed over here is that he looks like a much more comfortable player on defense, both in guarding his man and with KU’s frequent switches. Self said after Friday’s win that he thought this team had improved drastically in its individual defense of late. And Yesufu is a great example of that.

8 – David McCormack – His 10 minutes of playing time on Thursday night made sense and seemed like a blessing. He played just 13:28 in this one and was limited, in part, because of his ineffectiveness along with the strong play by Lightfoot. KU is going to need McCormack to make a run later this month. And while he hasn’t looked great — in terms of his skills and his health — over in Kansas City this week, the extra rest and time spent off of his feet can only help in the long run. The big question will be, can he flip the switch back to on when KU needs him. We might find out in Saturday’s title game. But the way Lightfoot has been playing, the question, though crucial, does not need to be answered quite as quickly.

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – It wasn’t Coleman-Lands’ night, partly because of the matchup and partly because of how well Agbaji and Remy Martin played. He missed his only shot in 1:31 of game action and did not record another stat.

10 – KJ Adams – Adams played just 1:12 and did not record a single stat. It was a little surprising that KU did not try to use him more, given the matchup and the fact that Kansas led by double digits the entire second half. But the way this team is clicking right now, there’s really no need to mess up the flow.

11 – Zach Clemence – After getting in during Thursday’s first half, Clemence played just the final 38 seconds of this one and was a key part in the final KU starters to come off the floor getting the ovation they deserved.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 300 +

2 – Christian Braun, 277

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 250

4 – Jalen Wilson, 231 •

5 – David McCormack, 191

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 166

7 – Remy Martin, 144 z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 111

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 103 b

10 – KJ Adams, 84

11 – Zach Clemence, 79 y

12 – Bobby Pettiford, 50 x

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11) Done for the season on Feb. 25.

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11 (returned Feb. 12)

z – Missed 10 games with a knee injury (returned Feb. 26)

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

b – Missed 1 game because of a migraine headache

Comments

Rodney Crain

OA was a man among boys tonight. He was locked in the entire game.

Matt, when do the other 3 groups announce their All-Americans?

6 months, 4 weeks ago

Report

Dirk Medema

Joe seems to me to epitomize the development of the team during the year. Some are sure the end is near if the team isn’t perfect early in the season, or even later, but Coach just keeps pushing and prodding. Not sure if it will result in the requisite NC, but they do seem a lot closer than to the predicted 6 conference Ls. We don’t get the rubber match with bu, but we do get one with TTU - barely. They might be tired, and we’ll probably hear about it.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

Report

Robert Brock

Texas Tech is a well-coached team loaded with tenacious athletes. They want the tournament championship. We’ll see...

6 months, 4 weeks ago

Report

Dirk Medema

TTU Coach should have been COTY.

KU is rested. TTU will play hard but likely won’t have the legs to keep up with their heart after a tough late game last night.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

Report

Commenting has been disabled for this item.