Fort Worth, Texas Leave it to a senior in a time of need to deliver in a time of need. One such time arrived Friday night in Schollmaier Arena for Kansas center Landen Lucas.
Freshman center Udoka Azubuike is out for the season after undergoing wrist surgery. Josh Jackson, the team’s leading rebounder heading into the night, had his quietest game as a Jayhawk and fouled out in 12 minutes of action.
The four-guard lineup that Kansas employed for all but six minutes of the by its very nature leaves the Jayhawks vulnerable on the boards and to excessive easy buckets at the rim. Jackson’s limited minutes left Lucas with less help than usual defensively and, except when Bragg was on the floor with him, on the boards.
View a gallery of images from Friday night's game between the Jayhawks and Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Jayhawks desperately needed a big night from Lucas and he gave it to them offensively and on the boards with 15 points and 17 rebounds. He didn’t get whistled for his third foul until the 5:25 mark, by which time he needed a breather anyway.
Lucas’ opposite number, TCU center Vlad Brodziansky, scored a career-high 28 points and had nine rebounds, so it wasn’t a perfect night for Lucas. Even so, Kansas doesn’t win if Lucas plays the way he did when slowed by a sore foot early in the season.
"Landen was really good on the glass,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. "His man got 28 and he’s a defensive stopper, although they were not all on him, not all his fault. Certainly we didn’t do a good job on our ball-screen defense at all. Landen probably had his best game he's had this year without question, but I think Landen would be first to tell you, you go on the road and your mindset's not to be tough and get stops, you’re very fortunate when you get a ‘W' and that was the case with us.”
Self credited TCU with doing a good job screening, which forced Lucas to provide help and left smaller players guarding Brodziansky at times
Lucas kept his effort at a high level despite playing 30 minutes. He has gone onto the court with a healthier body in recent games than early in the season and the symbolic start to a new season gave him a chance to trigger the mental refresh button as well.
“Coming into this game there was a lot of talk about how good a rebounding team they were so I emphasized getting on the glass,” Lucas said. "I’ve always taken pride in that, and this year I got off to a poor start rebounding, so with a fresh season and the Big 12 coming around, I wanted to get back to what I do well.”
He succeeded by setting a career-high in rebounding and playing a huge part in Kansas extending its winning streak to 12 games on what generally wasn't one of the team's better performances.
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.