Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Quick Recap: No. 3 KU basketball opens season by beating Michigan State in NYC

Michigan State's A.J. Hoggard (11) drives past Kansas' Dajuan Harris (3) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Michigan State's A.J. Hoggard (11) drives past Kansas' Dajuan Harris (3) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


The No. 3-ranked Kansas basketball team lived up to its preseason billing in its season debut Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Jayhawks handled Michigan State, 87-74.

A four-point game five minutes into the second half of the Champions Classic matchup in New York, the Jayhawks began to pull away as two of their starting guards led a surge.

Senior guard Ochai Agbaji at times was unstoppable, en route to a career-high 29 points on 9-for-17 shooting, with no turnovers in 36 minutes.

When KU was able to pair Agbaji’s breakout performance with the brand of basketball that made Remy Martin one of the most important transfers in the country, there wasn’t much the Spartans could do to keep pace.

Martin’s first official shot attempt as a member of the KU basketball team didn’t come until the second minute of the second half, as Martin came off a screen to bury a deep 3-pointer. The former Arizona State star didn’t need any more reminder than that to go back to his veteran scorer ways. Martin produced all 15 of his points in the final 20 minutes.

The Jayhawks only turned the ball over nine times and shot 48% from the field. KU won points in the paint, 44-40, but got outrebounded, 37-30.

KU improved to 6-5 all-time at the Champions Classic, and 2-2 against Michigan State in the event.

KU led, 39-32, at halftime, despite Big 12 preseason player of the year Martin going scoreless — he didn’t attempt a shot in 11 minutes — in the opening half of action.

Agbaji carried the load offensively in the opening 20 minutes of the season. The senior guard from Kansas City, Mo., was the only player in the game to reach double figures before intermission, as Agbaji put up 12 points on 2-for-5 3-point shooting and got to the foul line (4-for-4).

The Spartans outscored KU, 20-16, in the paint in the first half, helping them keep up with the Jayhawks. KU, meanwhile, took advantage of MSU’s 11 first-half turnovers, converting those chances into 12 points.

Michigan State won the battle on the glass in the first half, 19-12 — KU’s bigs combined to grab just three rebounds and David McCormack had zero boards in 10 minutes. KU’s starting senior big finished with 10 points, tw rebounds and two blocks.

Coming off the victory in their season-opening marquee matchup in New York, the Jayhawks (1-0) return to Allen Fieldhouse on Friday for their homeowner versus Tarleton State.


Dirk Medema 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Ochai was a cut above the others. I was encouraged to see the new guys play and play well though it would be interesting to sit in video review to get his analysis.

Rodney Crain 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice way to open the season. Tested, but came through to win the game as expected. Strong game for 3Ochai.

Glad to see our speed break down their defense, rebounding ok, shooters everywhere.

Lots of players still finding their way. Very encouraged by what I saw tonight. 11 deep is interesting.

David Black 6 months, 2 weeks ago

How many rebounds did Braun collect......?

Bryce Landon 6 months, 2 weeks ago

A great way to start the season! Shooting 48% against a Tom Izzo-coached team is pretty damn good, if you ask me. Sure, the Jayhawks can get better at rebounding, but a 13-point win against Michigan State, even when the Spartans are unranked, is nothing to sniff at. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Barry Weiss 6 months, 2 weeks ago

typically teams look pretty ragged in their first few games. We did a bit in the first half, but ball movement was really pretty good. We have alot of new pieces that I think can be inserted at any time. Would like to have seen us hold them 40% shooting or worse and out rebound them, but the small lineup will make that tough. Once we get Jalen back, our disadvantage on the boards should shrink.

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Did anyone notice ball sticking? Did we have single digit TOs? How about those asissts? If we continue playing like this, we'll be back in FF. Remy shows why offense wins games. Juando shows why defense also wins games. Speedy Bobby is fast with great court vision. Our guards show why we're team to beat!!! ROCK CHALK!

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