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Kansas defeats TCU, 82-77

  • 8 p.m., Feb. 11, 2019
  • Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, Fort Worth, TX

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Jayhawks’ locker room a reflection of just how big Monday’s road win at TCU really was

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (11) celebrates sinking a 3-point basket in front of TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (11) celebrates sinking a 3-point basket in front of TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

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Fort Worth, Texas — Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji was out of breath when he took his seat for the postgame meeting with the media following 14th-ranked Kansas’ 82-77, overtime victory at TCU on Monday night.

And, sure, dropping 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 41 minutes probably had something to do with it.

But the effort Agbaji expended on the reptilian-scaled floor at TCU’s Schollmaier Arena during one of the wildest games of the season may have paled in comparison to what went down in the locker room afterwards, as the Jayhawks celebrated their second true road win of the season and first since Jan. 12 in Waco, Texas.

“That’s the best locker room we’ve had all year by far,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after Monday’s victory. “I mean, even beating Tennessee and Marquette and Michigan State and Villanova, it wasn’t like that.”

Those wins, three of which came all the way back in November, might as well have been a lifetime ago. So much has changed for this team since then — some for the better, some for worse — and there’s a genuine belief inside the KU locker room that there’s still a lot of change to come.

What made Monday’s locker room the site for such a sensational celebration had a little something to do with the journey they’ve traveled and what’s to come.

“Just so much energy, so much positive energy, everybody happy for each other,” said KU sophomore K.J. Lawson, whose floater with 25 seconds left tied the game and forced overtime. “I love this team. I love the youth we have. Those guys are going to be great and we’re just building one game at a time and trying to get our chemistry. We’re still a bunch of guys who’ve never played together. That’s what we’ve got. We’re still trying to put the whole fist together and ball our fist and throw a punch.”

Both teams threw plenty of punches on Monday night, with Kansas landing the majority of them through the game’s first 35 minutes, where better energy, all-out effort and some incredible individual performances helped KU build leads of 12 points (61-49 with 9:03 to play) and 9 points (65-56 with 4:51 to play).

That’s when the Horned Frogs (17-7, 5-6) started to throw their best punches.

An 11-0 TCU run, fueled by two missed KU free throws and four consecutive KU possessions that ended with a turnover, gave the home team its first lead since 37-35 in the final seconds of the first half. The TCU lead grew to 4 points — and the run to 13-0 — on a pair of free throws by JD Miller with 2:07 to play, and a Kansas team that just hasn’t been able to find a way to win on the road this season appeared to be headed for the meltdown of all meltdowns.

The teams traded misses in the second-to-last minute of regulation and Kansas finally scratched again when Dedric Lawson (14 points, 10 rebounds in 35 minutes) scored a layup to cut TCU’s lead to two.

Dedric Lawson, one of three Kansas players to foul out, came up huge on the defensive end on the very next possession, deflecting a pass off of a TCU player and out of bounds to set the stage for his brother to tie the game.

“We were fortunate that it went overtime after we screwed it up,” Self said. “And then we played really well in OT.”

K.J. Lawson’s cool, calm and collected floater pulled Kansas even and allowed the Jayhawks to dig in for one final defensive stop before taking control from the jump in overtime.

“It was the right pass, it forced a long close-out and he was able to get past him to his strong hand,” Self said while recalling the play that tied the game. “I don’t know if I’d expect him to maybe make the two biggest shots of the game, but K.J.’s older and he’s a competitor. Nobody could ever say he’s not. He likes that moment and he’s been in that moment before so he was probably as prepared as anybody we had in the game to actually do what he did.”

Agbaji’s 3-pointer to open the extra frame put Kansas ahead, but TCU fought to tie it at 74 before K.J. Lawson struck again.

Being in the right spot at the right time, and unafraid of the moment, K.J. Lawson hit a soft jumper in the paint at the 1:09 mark of OT that gave Kansas a 76-74 lead. The Jayhawks never trailed again.

“K.J. was big for us down the stretch,” freshman point guard Devon Dotson said. “He was composed and he really played well tonight.”

On the night, K.J. Lawson finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 16 minutes. And nobody would say that those numbers even come close to comparing to the 25-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist game turned in by Dotson, who played all 45 minutes. Or even the 20-point, 11-rebound effort put in by Agbaji, whose energy and aggressive play in the first half helped spark Kansas after a dreadful start.

But no one was worried about individual stats or who did what after this one. Instead, they celebrated together and rejoiced over each other and even lost their breaths in the process.

“It was just a tough game,” Agbaji said of the win that his coach said kept Kansas “in the game,” for the Big 12 title. “It took a lot of fight down the stretch there so I’m kind of just catching my breath now.”

Added Self: “I thought Devon and Ochai were both fabulous,” Self said after the win. “And then other guys gave us good minutes. But if you’re going to pick the three best players in the game, K.J. and Ochai and Devon were without question the three best that we had tonight.”

Multiple Jayhawks referred to Monday’s triumph as a “team win,” and, for the first time in weeks, the Kansas players headed to the team bus with smiles on their faces and a bounce in their step.

Few Jayhawks looked more pleased than K.J. Lawson, but it wasn’t the fact that his baskets were some of the biggest of the game as much as it was the fact that he could help this team win that seemed to matter most to the sophomore guard from Memphis.

“I’ve always had confidence in myself,” he said after the victory. “I’ve come a long way. Nobody thought I’d be here anyway. I know (what) I can do and coach just believed in me, put me out there and I just took advantage of the opportunity.”

The same was true for the Jayhawks, who finally found a way to finish on the road, and they’re headed home with their hopes of extending their NCAA-record Big 12 title streak to 15 games still very much in their sights.

“We’re in the game,” Self said. “But by no means are we in a favorable position. But if we hadn’t have won tonight, it may have been too much.”

Comments

Tony Bandle 2 months, 1 week ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Samuels may have shown Dedric that another year of Kansas and Andrea may not be such a bad idea given the masses of humanity that will be guarding him in the NBA. Save for Vick, everybody else could be back as well.

2] Folks, we are going to be REALLY, REALLY good next season!!

3] If this sounds harsh, then I apologize, but I hope that everything is completely worked out absolutely for the best for LaGerald but I am not sure I want him back.

4] You gotta love K.J. , Ochai, Mitch and Big Mac hustling their asses off, mistakes not withstanding.

5] Boy, I think a red shirt year for McCormack will do a world of good for his offense and we'll have a monster on our hands!!

6] I truly think that Bill and the staff knew Ochai's potentially sky high ceiling but with Dotson, Vick, Grimes, K.J., Moore and Garrett he wouldn't get the PT he would need to grow. Well, that's surely been taken care of.

7] I have to admit that giant movable replica of the TCU coach behind the second half KU basket was friggin hilarious!!!

8] Regarding Dedric, it's kind of interesting that a 14 point, 10 rebound double/double is considered an "off night"!!!! It took me two years on my high school varsity team to match that total!

Dave Miller 2 months, 1 week ago

Regarding item #7: I think KU needs one of those in the image of Coach Hudy with the look of ferocity on her face when she's bench pressing the heaviest load she's ever done!! Now, in my mind, THAT would be intimidating! lol

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 1 week ago

We have 2 commits already for next years class: #124 Christian Braun and #117 Issac McBride (247 rankings) Dedric is gone. He will be middle to late 1st round pick. I can see Udoka leaving. I don't think he has much more to show at Kansas other than being injury prone. Might as well go for the gold at this point.

We were supposed to be a very good team this year THIS year with three McDonald's All-American's coming into a relatively experienced team although minus any real leadership from any players.

When was the last year we did have any issues with any incoming freshman? Maybe going with Self's keen eye for undervalued players and staying away from the highly sought after recruits. It's too bad that same eye has made some mistakes with overvalued recruits. Best example? I would say Josh Selby,

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 1 week ago

Sorry for the grammatical mistakes: We were supposed to be a very good team This year AND When was the last year we didn't have any issues with incoming freshman question.

Tom Jones 2 months, 1 week ago

No way Dedric's a first round pick at this point. He's not a good enough shooter to compensate for his lack of athleticism. Great college player, though, and he could conceivably work on his shot enough to get to the league.

Which isn't to say that he WON'T go, just that he shouldn't . We all know those arent't the same. If he works on his shot enough to play as an NBA wing, he could go in the first round in 2020.

Udoka could leave but kinda doubt that, too. Tough for the NBA to trust a guy who appears to be so injury-prone. He's also not athletic enough to compensate for a complete lack of a shot. But some NBA teams may be desperate enough to take a flier on a 7 footer to see if he develops. Any athletic NBA center (meaning any NBA center, really) will eat his lunch.

Which isn't to say that he WON'T go, just that he shouldn't . We all know those arent't the same. He may be a guy who, by staying, could actually improve his draft stock quite a bit with a great year and no injuries.

I bet they both "test the waters" and who knows? Maybe one or both of them bolt to Europe?

Dirk Medema 2 months, 1 week ago

Dok is a big question with having so little time this year to show more development.

Dedric isn't a question at all. Not sure if he's a 1st rounder or not, and hard telling what NBA exec's think anymore, but it seems rather comical to characterize him as not being a good shooter. In addition to a smorgasbord of moves inside the arc, he's also worked on his shot enough since the start of the season (250 made 3's per day) that he's hitting something like 50% over the last month.

Also, his ability to rebound is crazy good (effort, angles, anticipation > athleticism), and lots of players have made very long, successful careers doing just that.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 1 week ago

"Dok is a big question with having so little time this year to show more development.".

Exactly the reason he should enter the draft now.

Tom Jones 2 months ago

  1. Getting your shot off in college is a lot different than doing so in the NBA.

  2. Rebounding in college is a lot different than rebounding in the NBA. Dedrick is not athletic enough to be a proficient rebounder in the NBA. This is why he's projected to be late second round if even projected to be drafted at all.

  3. NBA 3 pointers are obviously 3+ feet further out.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 1 week ago

1] Will "Samuels" be in the NBA? Isn't he along the lines of Dok? It would seem that the NBA will play more into Dedric's game by creating space to move.

2] Every year. (See Rowlanski, Marius)

3] Not wanting LaGerald back might be more looking at the stressed Vick that hopefully this leave relieves.

4] Definitely love Mitch in particular getting a chance to show he can contribute again. He seemed to have been left out earlier this year. Love Coach's willingness to tinker with the line-up and how they play.

5] Do you really think McCormack will be around for 5 years? That would be the only reason for him to redshirt.

6] I don't think Bill had any idea Ochai would be this good this soon as evident in his comments. Totally a matter of expectations for Dotson, Vick, Grimes, K.J., Moore and Garrett. Down the road? Absolutely.

7] Well done.

8] 14 point on 16 shots is not great, but 10 rebound is why the NBA will value him. There's obviously a reason you're writing :-)

2 months, 1 week ago

wow. glad i was in vega$ for This one!! 🤑🎰👌👍

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 1 week ago

That must be one of the ugliest hardwood floor I've ever seen in Div 1 ever. And it seems slippery, too. To be able to win on that court, with 0 seniors, was just unbelievable.

Joe Black 2 months, 1 week ago

Not even close to the ugliest. Oregon wins that one hands down! But it is an ugly court. Not sure why someone would want that in their gym. I think it is time for the NCAA to have some regulations against these weird courts

Tony Bandle 2 months, 1 week ago

Boise State wins the award for the ugliest floor/field venue in all of college sports. They should change their nicknames to "The Smurfs"!!

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 1 week ago

Interesting, I did not know that. What kind of flooring is it?

David Friend 2 months, 1 week ago

You know Steve. I stand corrected. I thought I had read something a few years ago the new court was not wood. But upon further research the base is wood but finished with synthetic coating. Sorry about that

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 1 week ago

I couldn't tell myself from my computer screen. You never know. The coating deceives our eyes...

Ken Stclair 2 months, 1 week ago

Yes hate it.....Reminds me of that hideous football field at Boise State.

Dave Miller 2 months, 1 week ago

One thing is for sure, it's the ugliest floor in the B12, without a doubt!!!

Andy Godwin 2 months, 1 week ago

Glad the Jayhawks somehow pulled it out when they let a big lead, 12 points with 8 minutes to go, evaporate. K.J. was clutch down the stretch when KU was in foul trouble, Agbaji got them going early, and Dotson was suburb throughout. If Grimes (1 for 8 from three) and Moore (0 for 2 from three) could find their respective strokes this team would be so much better. Clutch win on a night when Dedric was not his Big 12 player of the year best. Rock Chalk.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 1 week ago

Glad someone pulled it out and left it all on the court. No point in saving any for next time...

Barry Weiss 2 months, 1 week ago

I really like the ball movement we've shown the last two games and our man defense has been really good too. Last night our guys were not letting TCU blow buy us downhill.

If you are going to put together a hot streak, now is the time. What a great bunch of freshmen! Damn we will be strong next year!

Town Thomas 2 months, 1 week ago

I like what I saw. The team is coming together.

Deb Fitch 2 months, 1 week ago

Just what we need is more NCAA reguations. LOL

Bryce Landon 2 months, 1 week ago

Let'em relish this one. They earned it.

What we saw tonight was a toughness that has been absent in nearly all of our road games - even our win at Baylor. They regrouped after nearly pissing away the game in regulation and came up with enough clutch plays in overtime to win. I said in the comment section to an article leading up to the game that it was manhood time for the Jayhawks, and they delivered.

And at the end of the day, 8-4 in conference play is way better than 7-5.

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

Glen Miller 2 months, 1 week ago

Everybody on message boards talking about next year and this season isn't even over yet. This team still has some goals to accomplish. Let's not send them out the door just yet!

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 2 months, 1 week ago

I'm excited for this team, this year, too. But it's fun to speculate on next year too. The biggest question marks in my mind will be if Dedrick and/or Ochai stay.
I'd guess they'll test the NBA waters at the combine and then decide.

[''] 2 months, 1 week ago

Ochai ain't leaving. He's smarter than that.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 1 week ago

Ochai will probably need at least another week before deciding his future. Dedric already made his decision and is NBA bound. 1st round mid-level draft pick. Just outside the lottery picks.

Bill Lamson 2 months, 1 week ago

Any post game info on whether or not Dodson is injured at all after that foul in the paint when he went down? Sure looked like he was really hurting and if it hadn't been so late in the game he probably would have come out.

Darrel Stice 2 months, 1 week ago

Agreed. He sure manned up to sink those free throws. Loving this kid!

DaNeille Dani Davis 2 months, 1 week ago

I love the way their court looked! It's different! As for KJ, Devon, and Ochai...wow! What a game for them. This team just might pull it off! 15 in a row, baby!!

Brad Watson 2 months, 1 week ago

Great TEAM win...everyone contributed and played an important role in the victory...that's why the locker room was buzzing....everyone involved did good things out there...Dedric...didn't have his best game...but you look up...and he had a double-double..Dotson....had a great night offensively.. ..but his 10 rebounds were huge...also Agbai...also had a great night...and his 10 rebounds were also huge...those long rebounds off those 3's....are like 50/50 balls...so fantastic...crashing the boards was a big factor for us...loved McCormacks' effort and TCU having to alter shots over him was huge...Mr. Grimes played solid relentless defense.....Mitch brought great energy as always.......KJ did a lot of good things ....the energy and HUSTLE were evident and in the end...we WANTED it more...with our stars on the bench...the team dug down deep and FINISHED the game like CHAMPIONS...!!!!!....Great ...Great...Job by all...the Coaches ..the Managers..and of course....the Players.....EVERYONE involved played a positive role in the victory...I love this team ..can not be happier with the relentless effort ...when you give it everything you have...good things happen and you will be rewarded for it!.

Brad Watson 2 months, 1 week ago

A LOT OF NEW STARS SHINED LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!

Brian Wilson 2 months, 1 week ago

This may be the landmark game for this season. HCBS may have finally found his lineup and the team may be looking up the rest of the season. So Hell Yes!, this season isn't over by any means.

Ochai, Dotson and KJ played great! Lightfoot & McCormack combined for a great game. But Grimes and Moore appeared to be absent! If Grimes can find his game then watchout.

Re-look, it's hard to see how KJ will get more minutes. Going forward he looks to get jsut 10 to 15 being 4th in line at the "Posts". It definitely won't come from Dedric, and Lightfoot has stepped up, and now DMac is on the rise. I thought he might get some at the 3 spot but not. So unless another disaster occurs, other than giving the four more time to develop and adjust to one another I'm not sure much more can be done other than what more game time can accomplish.

Others can chime in, but the only other thing that I can think to try into March is maybe we should try switching back and forth from posts to "Man in the Middle". From tape from high school, DMac is used to being the "Lone Giant" and is capable of big moves and monster dunks from within 5 feet. As we have all seen, when expected to do more than score, being in motion and in position, finding the open man, kicking it out or passing into the lane DMac looks confused and awkward. He also looks uncomfortable playing defense at Lawson's wing. Someday DMac will adjust, but it's almost March and when Dedric comes out of the game maybe it would be good to let DMac do his thing for 10 minutes and switch up the offensive system for just a few plays. I am looking forward to the rest of the season. The team is on the rise and it's possible if things gel we could have a fun March. RCJHKU!!

Ken Stclair 2 months, 1 week ago

I agree.....Not sure what to think of Moore. Almost looks like he just does not have the talent to be out there.

Dave Miller 2 months, 1 week ago

Charlie Moore has the talent. He just hasn't made the adjustment to college ball yet, in my humble opinion... He's shown flashes at brief times, but just hasn't turned a corner in the adjustment.

Glen Miller 2 months ago

He's in his 3rd year of college basketball......... he should be a little farther along than what he is by now. I've never seen someone dribble so much to get nowhere, nor have a seen a guy who plays like 8 minutes a game feel like he is our go-to scorer. He had one singular good game where he got hot from behind the arc. I don't know what other "flashes" you are talking about.

Jason Venable 2 months, 1 week ago

I wasn't able to watch the game. How ugly was it? I see that 3 KU players fouled out???? Were walk-ons playing? Nice job from Dotson and Ochai but 6 turnovers is a bit high. What's Dotsons assist/turnover ratio?

Brian Wilson 2 months, 1 week ago

Dedric, Grimes, & Lightfoot all fouled out. Dotson had 6 turnovers which is too many but otherwise had an incredible game - game ratio was 6 to 5. Because of all that, KJ and DMac got more minutes and KJ really stepped up. DMac was only a smidge better than last game, looked as awkward but at least he made a couple of shots and he hustles. Moore was absent for his 13 minutes. Up 12 with 9 minutes left we stopped playing defense, threw the ball away, couldn't shoot pass or rebound, we just basically froze and tried to give the game away. At about the one minute mark It was Dotson, Ochai, and KJ that wrapped it up into overtime. IMO Dotson and Ochai should start the remainder of the season and somehow KJ needs more time on the floor.

Mike Greer 2 months, 1 week ago

If Ochai hasn't secured his place as a starter, then I should replace Bill Self! He has offense and defense and with a couple of games as exceptions he's been one of the top two or three best players on the court, regardless of the team. To me the big question going forward is what does Coach do with Grimes and Garret? Marcus is one of coaches favorites because of his defense, but other than one or two games he's been an offensive liability. Quinten has shown more potential, but hasn't figured out how to contribute on the offensive end.

Brian Wilson 2 months, 1 week ago

Coach needs to tell "Q" to stop shooting and start driving. It would be nice to see him run to the bucket, LOL, and maybe Marcus should ride pine behind "Q" until we need him as a stopper., LOL!!

Ken Stclair 2 months, 1 week ago

He had a couple good shots.......but not very good overall. Definitely should stop taking the 3's......at least for now.

[''] 2 months, 1 week ago

“Just so much energy, so much positive energy, everybody happy for each other” -- Coincidence that this attitude is coming out now and that the best game of the year came after Vick left. Positive, unselfish, TEAM players, not worried about THEIR touches but TEAM harmony. And anyone notice the reduction in TO's lately ...hmmmmm.... I for one hope Vick doesn't come back and throw water on this team chemistry fire.

Darrel Stice 2 months, 1 week ago

I've been thinking the same thing. I've loved Vick when he's played and shot well, but his turnovers and disappearing act have been costing the team lately. Sure seems like the "addition by subtraction" theory is spot-on in this case. Best of luck to him but I'm ok if he doesn't return.

Ken Stclair 2 months, 1 week ago

Dotson had a great game overall......but he needs to do a better job with handling the ball. His turnovers are what allowed TCU to overcome that 12 point KU lead. Ochai,KJ and Lightfoot were all really good.

Brad Watson 2 months, 1 week ago

K-State plays at Texas tonight and Iowa State Saturday...this race might be completely different by Sunday....we just need to play relentlessly and things will work out.....play every game as if it were an elimination game...place that kind of importance to it...complete and total focus....smart basketball...Kansas basketball!

Bj Cassady 2 months, 1 week ago

I believe it was the best played game of the year. Four players out, three others fouled out, that should have been the death of the team but no, they pulled together played hard and won. I listened to a WSU game back in the early 60's when they could only put 4 players on the court against Houston (late in the game) but they won. KU was tough last night and they have not been tough this year. Agbaji, Dotson, the Lawsons gave all they had. Three players had double doubles that is rare. I like the way this team is shaping up. Best game for the coach to. He pushed the right buttons. What happens to K-State is out of our hands except for the last game, all we can do is win baby win.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

I hate to say this too...and I hope things work out the best for Vick whatever is going on, but right now we do seem to be better w/o him a lot more often than not.

So glad we won, I would not have been able to sleep. So great to see all the sad faces there considering how happy they were. It's like all of their joy was sucked out by an energy vampire and given to me!

DeMarcus Addison 2 months, 1 week ago

its crazy how many of you equate winning a road game to vick being off the team.....but im not surprised, most of you wanted malik gone half way through the season last year too

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 months, 1 week ago

huge vick fan here but we don't know anything. guys with kids and family in trouble we have to respect and let go. scholarship based on athletics not act remember?

[''] 2 months, 1 week ago

So a so-called "guy with a kid and family in trouble" gets to be a sh*t teammate who plays for himself and we have to cut him some slack? NOT!. Terrrrribllle logic my man.

[''] 2 months, 1 week ago

I don't recall anyone wanting Malik off the team last year. Ever. And in the famous words of Senator Lloyd Bentsen: "I knew Malik. Malik was a great team player. Vick sir, is no Malik Newman."

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 months, 1 week ago

fist pump KJ. this team has it. i can only imagine a beginning all together.

Bill Lamson 2 months, 1 week ago

How about a big shout-out to Mitch! That was an awesome put-back slam...and the roar to go along with it!! That's awesome...and admittedly kind funny since he's not exactly the guy you expect to hear that from during a game but that's 2 games in a row he's done that. I'm thinking that's one of those things his teammates joke about with him during practice. Keep it up MITCH!

Allin Herring 2 months, 1 week ago

I agree with everyone's comments about how overall the current teams line up with Lightfoot, KJ LAWSON, and MAC IN THE game has done such a good job. But what do you think will happen when Vick and Garrett are ready to come back will these guys get to play? My guess Self will go back to the old team performance of increased turnovers from Vick and clanked three point shots from Garrett while he is pushed under the basket by the other teams 4 ending in more r[ad losses.

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