Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Jayhawks recover in 2nd half to beat TCU

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) picks off a pass to TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) picks off a pass to TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


No victory is guaranteed or a foregone conclusion this season in the Big 12 — not even inside Allen FIeldhouse.

The Kansas basketball team survived a serious test from visiting TCU Tuesday night, though, 71-64.

With Udoka Azubuike, Devonte’ Graham and new sixth man Lagerald Vick (30 second-half points between them) leading the recovery, the Jayhawks shot 11 for 21 from the floor in the final 20 minutes to close out the victory and avoid a fourth loss inside Allen Fieldhouse this season three days after dropping one at home to Oklahoma State.

Graham (24 points, five assists, six rebounds) reached 20 for the first time since Jan. 13 to lead Kansas (19-5 overall, 7-3 Big 12) and help his team maintain its spot atop the Big 12 standings, where the Jayhawks are tied with Texas Tech in the loss column.

Azubuike delivered his first double-double since the league opener at Texas, with 16 points and 11 boards versus TCU (16-8, 4-7).

Both Lagerald Vick and Marcus Garrett contributed 10 points off the bench.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: KU made a point to seek out the best shots available.

The Jayhawks made just 13 of 34 shots in the first half but recovered from a halftime deficit and held off the Frogs by getting layups, dunks and good looks at 3-pointers in the second, when they shot 52.4 percent.

Kansas got by at the foul line, too, with 12-for-17 free-throw shooting in the second half. Graham and Newman sealed the win in the final 15 seconds, combining to make 4 of 4.

• Offensive highlight: When a 21-percent 3-point shooter knocks down multiple shots from downtown it qualifies as a wow moment.

Entering the game, KU freshman Marcus Garrett had connected on just 6 of 28 3-pointers all season.

And though he gave his first good look from deep a moment of thought before firing, he made his first trey from the left corner off a Malik Newman dish in the first half.

Garrett, who came in a 1-for-7 long-range shooter in Big 12 play, wasn’t done there. He spotted up in the right corner early on in the second half and didn’t hesitate to knock down another one when Vick set him up.

His second make from beyond the arc gave KU a four-point lead in a tight game during which the Jayhawks trailed by as many as seven in the first half.

• Defensive highlight: TCU big Kenrich Williams put himself in position for an easy put-back on an offensive rebound late in the first half when Mitch Lightfoot decided he wasn’t having it.

When Vlad Brodziansky’s touch shot in the paint was off the mark, Williams read it the whole way and snagged the miss. After pump-faking one KU defender out of his way, Williams rose up only to be met at the rim by a helping Lightfoot, who easily blocked it.

The sophomore, making his first career start, gave KU the kind of activity coach Bill Self trusted he would.

Newman picked up the defensive rebound and Lightfoot’s defense led to a rare fast-break chance. Graham drew a foul and made both free throws to cut TCU’s lead to 35-32 1:16 before halftime.

It was the second time in the game two potential second-chance points were erased inside by a KU big. Udoka Azubuike did the same earlier.

Still, the Horned Frogs scored seven points off six offensive boards in the first 20 minutes.

Lightfoot came through with some even more impressive rim protection early in the second half by smacking a Brodziansky two-handed dunk attempt away at the rim.

• Key stat: Three-point shooting.

In the first half, TCU’s marksmanship helped get the Frogs out in front, as they drained 8 of 15 before taking a 36-34 lead into halftime.

Kansas hit just 4 of 15 in the first half, when Graham was the only Jayhawk in rhythm offensively. The senior point guard made 3 of 6 in the first 20 minutes, giving him more than two 3-pointers in a game for the first time since he helped the Jayhawks win at West Virginia, on Jan. 15.

In the second half, KU focused more on getting the ball inside, via drives or entry passes to Azubuike. The Jayhawks made 3 of 6 3-pointers after halftime, with Graham adding two more from behind the arc.

But the real victory in the category came defensively, as TCU only made 2 of 10, and Kouat Noi, who buried four 3-pointers in the first half, went 0 for 5 in the final 20 minutes.

• Up next: The Jayhawks hit the road again for a rematch with Baylor on Saturday (1 p.m., CBS). KU survived a tight home game against the Bears, 70-67, on Jan. 20.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU

By the Numbers: Kansas 71, TCU 64.

By the Numbers: Kansas 71, TCU 64.


Barry Weiss 3 years, 2 months ago

man, we went from playing so well to two off games. Svi and Newman were BOTH in a funk tonight. I am just not use to this. I need a drink.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 2 months ago

I know. - - we won so we need to take that , but understand what your saying. - -We are just struggling so bad been going through this stretch. - -I don't know if it's just a depth issue and the guys have hit the wall -just worn down - -no legs or what. - -Slow to get out and defend the three , TCU had a lot of open looks at the 3 in the 1st half. - I just really wonder if all these minutes on these guys are just not having an effect?

Thomas Green 3 years, 2 months ago

Dilly dilly, working on my second after sitting through this one!

Bryce Landon 3 years, 2 months ago

We have to be the worst 19-5 team in America. We didn't play with much urgency or intensity the first half after the drubbing we took from Oklahoma State, and we still had trouble with the Frogs to the very end. Self's challenge from the last few days doesn't appear to have had much effect on his guys, and certainly not on Lagerald Vick, who still looks as devoid of confidence as ever.

Meanwhile, that loss to OSU looks even worse because the Cowboys crapped their pants at home, losing by 11 to Baylor in Gallagher-Iba Arena. And we have to face Baylor next - the same Baylor team that nearly tripped us up in Lawrence.

I don't see how we beat Baylor in Waco. I just don't. And despite being 8-3 in the Big 12, we could very easily lose as many as five of our last seven regular season games. The streak of conference titles will probably end this year.

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 2 months ago

Debby Downer is back!

You act like being the worst 19-5 team is a horrible thing. Would you rather be the best 13-9 team in America? It just means they are either winning games they shouldn't, or they are playing above their talent level/roster limitations. Either way, that's not a negative.

I'll tell you what, if you're so confident this team is going to fall apart down the stretch, how about a $1000 wager? If they go .500 or worse to finish off the regular season, you win. If they are above .500, I win. What do you say?

Bryce Landon 3 years, 2 months ago

In typical "I-have-to-shut-this-guy-up-and-shame-him-because-I-don't-like-what-he-has-to-say" mode, you failed to practice proper reading comprehension. I did not say I was confident that they would fall apart. I said we COULD lose as many as five of our last seven games. That means those games are toss-ups. It does not mean they will definitely lose those games. That's not being a Debby Downer; that's being a realist who sees the team for what it is.

Now instead of challenging me to dumb bets, why don't you go back to the kitchen and laundry room where you belong?

Brian Babcock 3 years, 2 months ago

I'd like to call a flagrant foul on "go back to the kitchen . . ." Please people, it's hard to read and enjoy this message board with attacks like that.

Joe Ross 3 years, 2 months ago

Bryce will you please SHUT THE HELL UP?

There is a reason you have become a persona non grata. Your constant negativity is akin to a Pavlovian response to a bell ring: the Jayhawks play, and you come on to offer your negativity. We, all of us, smell the stench of your vomit. And by the way, Shannon's right: you ARE a Debby Downer. What's more, you know you are. Every once in a while I wonder how you manage relationships in your personal life. "Go back to the kitchen?" You're not worthy to eat anything she cooks. You're a sexist, and we'd probably all discover much worse if we really knew anything more about you.

Personally, I don't care to.

(Shannon, on behalf of all the rest of us here, I apologize for this idiocy directed at you. You didn't deserve it.)

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 2 months ago

Bryce, they "could" lose the next 7 games since they've proven with their margin of victory this year (and the results of other top teams against the bottom feeders) that EVERY team in the conference could be beat any night. So if you don't actually think there is a good chance they will lose 5 of 7, you probably shouldn't use it as evidence of your "realist" views. Reality is they could lose any game even though they will be the favorite in probably all but one of them.

Thanks Joe. It's pretty easy to figure out more about Bryce. He lives in Iowa, he's a Jehova Witness, he loves taking pictures of himself holding a bible, his favorite books are different version of the bible, he's got male pattern baldness, and he's a pessimistic, sexist, hypocritical christian A hole. It shouldn't be surprising that he's also single. However, I'm not sure if he's single because women are intimidated by his dashing good looks or if his amazingly optimistic world views are too much for people to handle. Of course it could be that he's single because he's got too many to choose from...never mind, his religious beliefs wouldn't allow him to do that.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 2 months ago

But maybe we shouldn't write off Garrett or his offensive abilities so fast.

Is Dok's DD a result of Mitch playing alongside him or of Coach's motivational magic?

Dave Miller 3 years, 2 months ago

I think it was both, but I'm giving a big chunk to Coach's Monday Motivational as far as Dok is concerned. Dok needed a "wake up" of getting aggressive again.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 2 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] SVI........WTF???????????

2] Well, the worst 19-5 team is still better than 95% of Division 1.

3] Next year's line up - Dok, Lawson; Moore, Grimes, Dotson.

4] Hey, Bryce, if we continue to play like last night, which two games do you think we are actually going to win???????

5] Let me repeat.....SVI.......WTF????????

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't think SVI really played bad, it just appeared that TCU was determined to not give him open looks. He only shot one 3 the whole game because he was defended well and we never ran any plays to get him free. He also made a 3 but it was after the shot clock expired.

Newman on the other hand, he had a bad game. 0-5 from 3, 1-9 overall.

David McNickle 3 years, 2 months ago

If a team wants to take away a player, especially someone who doesn't bring the ball up, they can do it. My guess is TCU thought they could take away Svi, count on Dok to get into foul trouble, and make Malik and Graham beat them. Almost worked. Getting 26 out of Garrett, Vick, and Mitch helped offset Malik and Svi. That's a good thing going forward.

Mike Greer 3 years, 2 months ago

The team (in the past) runs best on eight cylinders, this season we really only have seven. Oh, how nice it would be to hit on all seven, at least every now and then. Devonte's best shooting game in a month, and finally some offense from Mitch and Marcus, and even Lagerald woke up a little bit as did Dok. Only to be accompanied by what has to be the worst game in the past three years for Svi, and not much offensively Newman.

Other than Dok, this is not an in-the-paint kind of team. They miss way to many shots from inside and have a hard time getting there with the ball.

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