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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Notebook: Kansas’ Jalen Wilson stars again; Bill Self worried about Ochai Agbaji

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) elevates to the bucket between Oklahoma forward Jacob Groves (34) and Oklahoma guard Jordan Goldwire (0) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) elevates to the bucket between Oklahoma forward Jacob Groves (34) and Oklahoma guard Jordan Goldwire (0) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas forward Jalen Wilson had team highs of 22 points and nine rebounds in the eighth-ranked Jayhawks' 71-69 victory over Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, but coach Bill Self said after the game he isn't eager to crown Wilson as an all-Big 12 player just yet.

Wilson also led Kansas in both categories in the 79-76 loss at No. 20 Texas on Monday. He's averaging 9.4 points and 7.1 rebounds this season but has improved those numbers to 14.4 points and eight rebounds in Big 12 play.

Self didn't want to take that leap because he said it's difficult at this point to compare Wilson to others around the conference.

"I love how Jalen's playing, but I'm not going to say that we have three first-team all-leaguers on his team, because that's obviously the case if he's an all-league player," Self said. "You'd obviously have the other two as well, but the guy, he is playing well. He is playing well."

Kansas figures to have two players, senior guard Ochai Agbaji and junior guard Christian Braun, among the contenders for the all-Big 12 team as well.

Wilson was able to close out Saturday's victory by making three of four free throws in the final 1:04.

"I'm just getting in the right spots, not trying to force anything," Wilson said. "I'm just shooting better shots, smarter shots, and knowing where I want to get to."

Braun said he thinks Wilson has been much more assertive in recent games. That has led to his increased success.

"When he's aggressive, like at Texas, he can be one of the best players on the court," Braun said. "When he's aggressive, that's what's best for us. We're confident in his abilities and his playmaking and he's done a really good job the last few games."

Self: We're worried about Agbaji

Self said he's concerned about Agbaji's health as the Jayhawks head into the final three weeks of the regular season.

Agbaji appeared to injure his right wrist and left knee during a hard fall with 4:58 remaining. He has already been taping up his left wrist after he collided with the scorer's table during the win at Oklahoma on Jan. 18.

He finished with 11 points and six rebounds in 37:40 on Saturday. He's playing nearly 35 minutes a game this season.

"He needs to take some reps off, no question, but that's what the best players do — they play regardless of what the situation is," Self said. "I'd like to get his minutes down to 33 or 34, but right now, we've got to have some bench (players) step up before we're probably able to do that."

Former coaches, players recognized

Kansas honored those who led the Jayhawks to the Final Four during the 1970-71 season at halftime. Former coach Ted Owens and players David Robisch, Roger Brown, Fred Bosilevac, Robert Kivisto, Mark Williams and Neal Mask were among those recognized.

Self said Friday that the celebration takes on extra significance following the death of Bill Lienhard, a forward who helped Kansas win the national championship in 1952. Lienhard was remembered with a moment of silence before the game.

"Any opportunity for those guys to get together, I think, is fantastic, and we should all honor them at any opportunity we get," Self said.

Gibson limited

Kansas held Oklahoma's leading scorer, Umoja Gibson, without a point and limited him to just two shots, both of which he took in the second half. Gibson entered averaging 12.8 points per game this season and scored a season-high 30 points in the Sooners' previous game, a 70-55 win over No. 9 Texas Tech on Wednesday.

This and that

The victory means Kansas has won at least 20 games for the 33rd consecutive season, the longest streak of any Division I team. Kansas still has not lost to Oklahoma in Lawrence in the Big 12 era, which dates to the start of the 1996-97 season. Overall, it has won 23 consecutive wins against Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse, with the last defeat on Feb. 17, 1993, an 80-77 loss.

Oklahoma committed just nine turnovers, including three in the first half. It entered the game averaging 15 turnovers game, good for 322nd out of 350 Division I teams. Oklahoma State, Kansas' opponent on Monday, was averaging 14.9 before Saturday's games began.

Oklahoma freshman Alston Mason, from Overland Park, had one rebound and two steals in 10:10 off the bench. Mason was named to the Kansas all-state first team twice while playing at Blue Valley Northwest High.

Comments

Brianna Zaleski 6 months ago

JW was the best player on the court today, and has been our most reliable player the past few conference games. Other than his outside shooting, he’s the player I have the most peace of mind with. CB was practically his mirror image, on the other side today. If those 2 are putting up combined dual stat lines, as they did today, especially with teams so focused on shutting down Och, then we’ll be a handful come postseason. Eventually, teams will have to quit paying so much attention to OA, and game plan for JW and CB more, than Och gets more breathing room… Now, a reliable post presence…..

Steve Zimmerman 6 months ago

Quite impressive moves around the basket by JWill, indeed. He has more control now. I still wish to see him dunk more!! Keep it up!!!

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

Brianna - Well said.

Coach and the announcers have said more than once that our ceiling is highest if David can play like he did in conference last year. It might take a miracle to see that for more than a game or two. Getting awfully late for a makeover.

Watching Zach makes me wonder if he might be a newbie version of Landon Lucas. Only he has a legit outside shot. I wonder if he can set a screen for OA? Besides spreading the floor for everyone, a good screen should help to create some space.

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

I could see CB and JWil offsetting each other both onto the second team.

The most important thing though is to finish the season strong.

Kyle Neuer 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Free throw shooting. Take Wilson's 5 out of 6 from the equation and this team starts making Doke look good from the line. Can't sit them all at the end of games.

Joe Baker 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Don’t look now but JWil is the most consistent and he hit FTs when needed. He has done a great job coming back.

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