Monday, February 11, 2019

Quick Recap: No. 14 Kansas outlasts TCU in overtime to end recent road woes

TCU forward Lat Mayen (11) defends as Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) attempts a shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

TCU forward Lat Mayen (11) defends as Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) attempts a shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Fort Worth, Texas — Very little has come easy for the 14th-ranked Kansas basketball team since Big 12 Conference play began back in early January.

And that theme continued Monday night at Schollmaier Arena, where the Jayhawks and TCU Horned Frogs needed overtime to settle KU’s latest road challenge, an 82-77 win by Kansas on a wild night for both teams.

The victory improved the Jayhawks to 2-6 in true road games this season and finally were able to hear the sounds of the Rock Chalk Chant ringing from the rafters from the KU fans who made the trip to TCU.

Turnovers again nearly led to road devastation for the 14th-ranked Jayhawks, who somehow overcame an epic meltdown in the final 5 minutes of regulation to send the game to OT.

But unlike at Iowa State and K-State, where it was the volume of turnovers that cost Kansas, this time it was disastrous final 5 minutes that led to KU needing OT to solve their road woes.

Despite leading by 12 points at one point during the second half and by as many as 9 points — 65-56 on a Mitch Lightfoot follow dunk — in the final 5 minutes, the Jayhawks (19-6 overall, 8-4 Big 12) surrendered a 13-0 run to TCU in a 3:40 stretch and saw the big lead turn into a two-possession deficit, erasing all of the good things that came during the game’s first 35 minutes.

The Jayhawks cracked the scoreboard first in the 5-minute overtime in the most unusual fashion. After the teams traded misses for the first 90 seconds, Quentin Grimes found himself open for a rhythm 3-pointer on the other end but passed it to Devon Dotson, who was even more wide open. Dotson, also passed it, this time to an even-more-wide-open Ochai Agbaji, who had started on his way to the rim for the rebound but stopped when the pass came zipping his way. After bobbling it and regaining his feet, Agbaji, still wide open, calmly drained the 3-pointer to give Kansas a 72-69 lead.

One possession later, Dedric Lawson (14 points, 10 rebounds) delivered a soft hook in the paint to put KU up 74-69 with just under 3 minutes to play in the extra frame.

From there, the Frogs (17-7, 5-6) chipped away at the KU lead until a free throw from TCU’s JD Miller tied things at 74. But KU sophomore K.J. Lawson, who hit the game-tying floater with 25 seconds to play in regulation, gave KU the lead back with another strong move to the rim with just over a minute to play.

TCU’s Kendric Davis hit 1 of 2 free throws with 55 seconds to play to pull the Frogs within a point again and Kansas responded with Dotson taking the ball hard to the rim and drawing a foul with 40.8 seconds to play.

Dotson, who finished with a career-high 25 points in this one, stayed down after the contact and then calmly hit two free throws to put KU back ahead by 3, 78-75.

On the ensuing possession, Miller again hit 1 of 2 free throws to pull the Frogs within 2, but KU freshman David McCormack, who started his second game in a row, ripped the rebound away from a TCU defender and that led to two more free throws from Dotson that put Kansas up 80-76 with 23.8 seconds to play.

With Dedric Lawson, Lightfoot and Grimes all on the bench with 5 fouls, it was those free throws and a big rebound by Dotson that helped Kansas finish the game.

After another foul, Dotson hit those free throws, as well, and the Jayhawks exploded off the bench when the final horn sounded.

The opening sequence should have been a sign of the wild things to come.

Kansas started in a 7-0 hole and quickly called timeout at the 18:26 mark of the first half to keep it from getting any worse.

Less than 4 minutes later, at the 12:46 mark of the first half, the Jayhawks took their first lead of the game on a top-of-the-key 3-pointer by Dedric Lawson after another hustle play by Mitch Lightfoot kept the offensive possession alive and helped add to KU’s 14-5 run.

After TCU’s fast start, the Frogs began misfiring like mad from 3-point range and were down below 40 percent from the floor by the Under-12 timeout of the first half, including a 2-of-7 clip from 3-point range.

Kansas, meanwhile, calmly connected on 3 of 4 from 3-point range in the game’s first 8 minutes to survive that sloppy start.

One of the biggest reasons KU seemed to settle down in this one was the Jayhawks’ willingness to stay aggressive.

Rather than playing on their heels and letting the Horned Frogs and their home crowd overwhelm them like they saw in last week’s loss at Kansas State, the Jayhawks attacked the rim, pulled the trigger on open shots and never stopped hustling.

As has become customary, Ochai Agbaji scored 10 points in the game’s first 12 minutes and Devon Dotson, on 2-of-3 shooting from distance, had 9 points in that same time frame.

After a nice feed from Charlie Moore set up a layup by K.J. Lawson that put Kansas up 6, TCU’s Kendric Davis scored 7 consecutive points to give the lead back to the Frogs.

Davis’ buckets came in a variety of ways, scoring in transition, on a 3-pointer in front of the Kansas bench and after shaking Quentin Grimes, one-on-one, and earning a pair of free throws.

From there, the teams traded the runs and the lead to the end of the first half in what became a H-O-R-S-E contest and featured five different players making tough shots in the final 2 minutes of the first half, including Grimes, whose step-back jumper at the buzzer tied the game at 37 at the break.

Kansas returns home to play West Virginia on Saturday.


Max Ledom 3 years, 10 months ago

Other than that stretch where we totally let them get back in the game when we had them all but put away, this looked like a team that’s starting to come together (down 3 players no less) and starting to believe in themselves. Dotson taking the lead by shooting the ball confidently and the other guys stepping up their scoring and production. And we had excellent defense in stretches.

We maybe could be witnessing Bill Self’s greatest coaching job EVER take place in front of our very eyes if we win this conference.

Championship DNA. LETS GO HAWKS!

Bryce Landon 3 years, 10 months ago

What a wild game. I could tell TCU was really hungry to beat us based on everyone making a big deal of being on Big Monday, the Frogs wearing throwback uniforms, and looked like there was a whiteout with so many fans wearing white.

The negatives for Kansas - spotting them a 7-0 lead to start the game, Dedric backtalking to Coach Self, and the Jayhawks blowing the 12-point lead en route to what appeared to be another fall-from-ahead loss. Seriously, that game should never have gone to overtime, and wouldn't have if we hadn't lost our poise.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives. I thought Ochai and Devon did some big-time growing up before our eyes. Sure, they didn't play blemish-free, but they made the big shots and carried the scoring load on a night where Dedric was having an off game and LaGerald is still gone dealing with his personal issues at home - and, of course, the injured and suspended players parked on the bench. I like the way the guys regrouped after regulation, got their [bleep] together, and came up with more big plays to finally put TCU away. And David McCormack did some growing up tonight as well. While he still has a lot to learn, his biggest moment came in overtime when TCU missed a free throw, and he ripped the rebound away from the Horned Frog player, thus preventing the Frogs from possibly converting an offensive rebound into a bucket and retaking the lead.

The biggest positives are these: We picked up a much-needed win on the road, and we are now only 1 full game back of KSU in the Big 12 standings - and KSU has to go on the road to face a Texas team that already beat them in Manhattan. If UT can take down KSU in Austin, we would be a 1/2 game back and would still have a realistic shot at maybe winning No. 15 after all - that is, of course, if we can handle our business against West Virginia on Saturday...


Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

KJ should start instead of Grimes. KJ has heart of a champion. At this point, everyone's got to labor to cover Q's deficiencies. It's pretty sad. The guy would rather keep taking 3pt shooting. And instead driving and a strong layup, he would rather pass the ball or cowardly throws the ball up aimlessly. He's not using his physical attributes & speed. Is Grimes allergic to others' skins/sweat??? Smoove had a rough night, missing so many bunnies, but amazingly, he still got double^s. Agbaji & Dotson never cease to amaze me with their high level of plays - they grow up in a blink of an eye. They're freakin' awesome!!!

Thumbs up to bench squad today!! Lightfoot came up big again. Solid D - it seem as if he's got 6 blocks part deux. McCormack, well, he's stupidly entertaining. LMAO watching him busting his butt out there. Stomping off those pesky frogs. But he'll get it one of these days. If only he bends knees more, slows down a bit, goes up straight instead of trying to spike the ball. Nevertheless, a great win by a great young squad - I agree with you, by end of season, if we pass 2nd round, this will be the highest achievement our HOF coach has ever reached in his tenure at KU!!

David Black 3 years, 10 months ago

I jumped up off the couch when David McCormack secured the rebound on the missed free throw by TCU. What a great play. Mr.Hustle Mitch is fun to watch and Agbaji and Dotson are growing up fast. This team showed their toughness tonight. Take out West Virginia next.....15 here we come. Rock Chalk

Brian Wilson 3 years, 10 months ago

Up by 12 with 9 left and talk about trying to give it away.

I'm not sure I agree on this being Self's greatest coaching job ever. Disruptive Vick was let back on the team over concern about the outside shooting of our supposed "super star" recruits. A concern which Moore, Grimes, and Garret have lived to. Meanwhile, Agbaji, Mac and KJ sat on bench. And none of them would be seeing much of the court if it wasn't for the mess KU is in. However, even though some of the decision making is suspect, I still can't deny that we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for HCBS

But, things do look like they are falling in place but it wasn't planned this way by HCBS.
So here is the ITYS:
KJ played 17 minutes put 10 on the board and 6 REBs and ZERO TURNOVERS.
Mac & Lightfoot combine for 39 min, 9 REBs, 8 pts, 4 blks, and 1 stl and ZERO Turnovers!
They combined for 18 Points, 15 Rebounds, and ZERO Turnovers!

As I have been saying for weeks KU should "go big", play Mac & Lightfoot alongside Lawson and free Dedric up, play more zone, focus on defense, rebounding, and holding onto the ball, reducing the errors. Give KJ more minutes at the 3, the Lawson's can bring that sibling-rivalry- attitude-thing to the team. Dedric getting 35 minutes while Lightfoot and Mac combine for 39, means 6'8" KJ gets the majority of his minutes at other positions so we really are playing 3 bigs and rebounding goes way up. Play Dotson, and Agbaji and reduce the minutes of the other guards and voila!!

Mike Riches 3 years, 10 months ago

Slowing down and playing not to lose is such a common mistake for teams at every level. Doing that on the road can often be fatal and almost was tonight. I was so impressed by our guys hanging in there, overcoming adversity and holding on for the win. I haven't been big on KJ this year but his two shots at the end of regulation and overtime, were monster shots. As was Ochai's out-of-rhythm three to get us on the board in overtime!

I love Dedric, but he deserved to sit to end the first half. Not just for yelling at HCBS but for the careless transition three he took right before that. He's smarter than that and the way defenses are locking him up, he's going to have to learn to respond with intellect and toughness instead of frustration.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm with you on the tempo diff. We could end up shooting ourselves in the foot.

Luke Kading 3 years, 10 months ago

I have to agree with Steve on Grimes. Not sure if KJ is the answer or not, but he certainly made a big play down the stretch of regulation that I don't think Grimes can make right now. He's become a spot up shooter at this point, and a very shaky one at that. Still waiting/hoping for it to click for him and he starts to impact the game other than making an occasional three, but that hope is fading. He seems so sped up and flustered, and to me lacks aggressiveness and attitude. I recall a play early in Big 12 play, perhaps TCU round 1, where he had a mostly open lane on a semi fast break and layed it up so softly instead of dunking it. Maybe a minor play at the time, but to me speaks to his lack of aggressiveness. Agbaji would have hammered the rim on that same play.

Dotson is a stud and maybe this became his team tonight. Agbaji is awesome too, and other than a couple Lightfoot putbacks lately, it seems he's the only one who can dunk on this team.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

What's impressive about KJ is his bball IQ and experience in D1. He's not afraid to shoot. He could be more aggressive, but he's lack of athleticism (thanks to Shannon for correcting me) seems to be the biggest problem for him getting to the basket and just stuff it. Otherwise, boooy... he could use that long wing span to just slam the ball down the throat of the rim!!!!!

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 10 months ago

I still believe the reason we pulled it out was because it was TCU instead of KSU. We may or may not mature into a solid outfit this year. If David and Mitch had been playing steady minutes all year we would be so much better off now, but who could have envisioned this series of debacles the season has delivered to Coach. Now, we just need to hope we can get a unit together for the tourney. One thing for sure, now that Vick is absent, K.J. needs to play more. Don't know if many have noticed how composed he is when he shoots the ball as opposed to his teammates who rush and force shots. He has a nice soft touch on his shot and this team needs someone who can shoot the ball with a steady and consistent hand. Please increase his playing time and reduce that of Moore.

James Donnell 3 years, 10 months ago

The starting five seems to have crystalized, though Grimes’s lack of production continues. It does seem like KJ should get more of his minutes.
Grimes just doesn’t seem to add much. KJ bailed us out with two big time shots. Moore has occasional flashes but his shot seems off. He keeps hurrying it and clanking it up there. Only against KSU did he look smooth. And I don’t think Lightfoot (or Garrett) should take any 3’s EVER. I don’t remember Mitch hitting even one this season. The team has been rehabed, and we now have three great players in Lawson, Dotson, and Agbaji and some good role players. The chemistry is vastly improved—the ball is moving. FT shooting is still a problem and almost killed us in this one. But hats off to the guys for hanging tough. A loss after blowing the big lead would have been psychologically devastating, so it was a GREAT, GREAT win. Huge.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

I look at how Virginia plays. Very simple play: find an open man, pass the ball. Shoot if you're open. Move to an open space/cutting to grab the ball. Screen to get your mates open. Lobs on the drive. Pretty good bball team. They're a bunch of nasty shooters, too.

David Howell 3 years, 10 months ago

Guess who this is ?

2 of 11 from the field and 1 of 8 on 3 pointers ............... And only 2 rebounds in 36 minutes !

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