Postgame Report Card: Kansas 71, TCU 64
Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 71-64 grind-it-out victory over TCU at Allen Fieldhouse.
Devonte' Graham and Udoka Azubuike combined to shoot 13-of-26 from the floor for 40 points. That's an A. Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk combined to shoot 1-of-11 from the floor for five points. That's a D. The tie-breaker? Marcus Garrett and Mitch Lightfoot combined to shoot 7-of-9 from the floor for 16 points on a night when the Jayhawks needed every point they could muster. Call it a B, especially considering KU's 70 percent shooting from the free throw line.
The Horned Frogs entered the game averaging 86 points per game and operating as one of the most efficient offensive teams in the Big 12 Conference. Kansas held them to 64 points — 28 in the second half — on 40 percent shooting. It might not always have been pretty, but it was a damn good defensive effort by the home team, one that featured a ton effort, energy and desire.
Udoka Azubuike delivered the kind of double-double he should have most nights out and Mitch Lightfoot was rock solid in his first start. If KU gets more nights like that from its two big men, this team could turn a corner in a hurry. Azubuike was a force on both ends, dunking over people at will on offense and skying high for defensive boards. He even blocked a pair of shots and grabbed three offensive rebounds. The best part? They committed just four fouls between them and made a monster impact in just 47 combined minutes.
We covered this a bit in the offensive grade, but this one gets the plus because of the big night delivered by Graham — when KU absolutely had to have it — and the ultra-solid 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from back-up guards Garrett and Lagerald Vick. Svi and Newman were not good offensively, but both played hard and found other ways to impact the game. Newman's five assists tied for the team high and Svi's 36 minutes and presence as a player the TCU defense absolutely had to respect and pay attention to opened things up inside for Azubuike.
I'm not sure you can get much more out of Garrett, who made all four shots he attempted and grabbed two rebounds and dished an assist in 15 minutes. And Vick, after being benched at the start of the game, still played 29 minutes and, at times, looked as aggressive as he has looked in weeks. TCU's a good team. This was a good win. Nobody in a Kansas uniform is apologizing for the way it came or looked. All that matters is how it reads on their record.