Notebook: KU's Ochai Agbaji named Big 12 Player of the Week

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) flashes a smile as he works for position against Texas Tech forward Kevin Obanor (0) and Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar (15) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) flashes a smile as he works for position against Texas Tech forward Kevin Obanor (0) and Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar (15) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Originally published January 24, 2022 at 11:15 p.m., updated January 24, 2022 at 11:19 p.m.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday, before the No. 5-ranked Jayhawks' 94-91 double-overtime victory over No. 13 Texas Tech, after he led the Jayhawks to a pair of come-from-behind wins in the previous week.

The Big 12's leading scorer at 21.3 points per game, Agbaji averaged 19.5 points and six rebounds in victories at Oklahoma and Kansas State. He matched what was then a career high with 29 points in the 78-75 win at K-State, including making the go-ahead basket with nine seconds remaining, and scored all 10 of his points in the 67-64 win over OU in the final 5:25.

Agbaji, who scored 37 points on Monday, shared the accolade with K-State's Nijel Pack. The guard scored a career-high 35 points against KU on Saturday but couldn't knock down a 3 to answer Agbaji's basket in the closing seconds.

It's the second consecutive week in which Agbaji has been honored by the Big 12. He also was named its player of the week on Nov. 15 after KU's first two games, wins against Michigan and Tarleton. Christian Braun is the only other KU player who has earned the honor this season as he did so on Dec. 6 after he scored 31 points in a defeat of St. John's.

Self Sr. remembered

A moment of silence was held before the game for Bill Self Sr., Self's father, who died Friday at 82. Public address announcer Eric Danielson read one of Self Sr.'s favorite aphorisms — "Don't worry about the mules, just load the wagon" — just before the observance.

"I saw a sign on the baseline, but I couldn't get everybody to sit down so I could see it," Self joked.

Self considered his father, a longtime high school coach and administrator in Oklahoma, to be his basketball mentor.

"Everybody's been so nice to us and we are very appreciative to all the well wishes and the thoughts and prayers and I know my mom is overwhelmed by it. So that's very nice of everybody."

Jayhawks finally healthy

Even though the Jayhawks had every scholarship player who is not redshirting available for a game for the first time since the Dec. 3 win against St. John's, they stuck with a rotation of nine. Freshmen Bobby Pettiford and Zach Clemence did not play against Texas Tech, nor did sophomore guard Joseph Yesufu.

Polls: Jayhawks rank fifth

KU moved up two spots to No. 5 in the Associated Press poll on Monday, its highest ranking since it was ranked fourth on Nov. 22. That was after the Jayhawks' third game of the season, an 88-59 win over Stony Brook. They fell to eighth the following week after their loss to Dayton in Orlando, Florida. They also rose from seventh to fifth in the coaches' poll.

Big on ‘Big Monday’

The win over Texas Tech meant Kansas improved to 34-0 when playing at home on ESPN’s “Big Monday” in Bill Self’s 19 seasons as its head coach. The Jayhawks also pushed their home winning streak on Monday nights to 38 consecutive wins, dating to the Roy Williams era.

KU improved to 75-20 on “Big Monday” since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97 and 56-14 overall under Self. Kansas will play two more Monday night games: Feb. 7 at Texas and Feb. 14 against Oklahoma State at home.

The Jayhawks have only been swept in the regular-season series against a Big 12 opponent twice under Self. Texas beat KU twice last season and Oklahoma State won both games in 2017-18. Texas Tech is the only Big 12 opponent the Jayhawks have already faced twice.

Kansas is 9-0 at Allen Fieldhouse this season and has now won its last 17 games at home.

It also improved to 21-1 against Texas Tech at home. The only loss to the Red Raiders at Allen Fieldhouse happened on Jan. 2, 2018.