Jalen Wilson's big 1st half, game-high 13 boards good for top spot after regular season finale
1 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson takes the top spot after this one because of his overall body of work and his stellar first half. On a night when almost nobody else in a white uniform had it going, Wilson was terrific in the first half, scoring 13 points to keep Kansas both in it and in front by halftime. He finished 5-of-9 from the floor for 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. 17 points on nine shots is a major step forward in the efficiency department for Wilson, who not only was aggressive and in attack mode all night long but also played a huge role in forcing UT’s Timmy Allen into 2-of-15 shooting in his 40 minutes. At least two of Wilson’s buckets and two of his rebounds were off of hard crashes to the offensive glass, where he wiggled his hand in there to get the ball to go through when no one else could find a way to do it. KU needs Wilson to be elite if they’re going to make a run this postseason and I can’t think of a better final regular season game to build off of.
2 – David McCormack – McCormack was a monster all night, even if it wasn’t the prettiest performance ever. He played big, strong and relentless basketball and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes. He scored four points in OT and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line, with every one of them carrying the weight of the outcome with it. McCormack was actually pretty close to a 30-point night. Had he just made a few more of the bunnies he missed, he might have gotten there. But he did enough for KU to win a crucial game, and, like Wilson, should take a lot of confidence from this outing into the postseason. After a little bit of rest, that is.
3 – Christian Braun – Braun started quiet and made just 3 of 9 shots, but he finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds and was terrific on the glass late in the game. He hit 2 of his 3 3-point attempts and was 5-of-7 at the free throw line, both good numbers. He joked after the game that he and McCormack have an ongoing debate about which is the better free throw shooter. McCormack got him on this night and has made 22 in a row, making Braun’s argument a little tougher to make at the moment. Still, Braun out-rebounded Big Dave and showed plenty of fire in helping Kansas will their way to a Big 12 title.
4 – Ochai Agbaji – Six of his eight points came in overtime, including the only basket he made all night. It’s easy to look at Agbaji’s off shooting night and say he wasn’t very good. But he played 39 minutes and was a huge part of everything Kansas did, whether scoring or creating opportunities for others. KU will need Agbaji to be closer to the 20-points-per-game player that he’s been all season than the player he was on Saturday. But when winning time arrived, he found a way to help Kansas get over the hump. He had an opportunity to be the hero with the game tied and the ball in his hands with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, but could not get a shot off. Teams are onto him. And no one is going to want to watch Agbaji beat them. As long as he continues to stay comfortable finding ways to make opponents pay for that approach, he can help Kansas in a big way whether he’s on or not.
5 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Harris was better in this one than his 1-of-8 shooting clip and 3 total points indicates. For one, he played 38 minutes and was tough defensively, with four blocks and a steal. For two, he dished four assists without a turnover. But bigger than any of the numbers was the fact that he continued to look to be aggressive on offense. He missed a bunch of close shots that he probably should’ve made. And he will make them most of the time. As long as he continues to be aggressive, that will help Kansas. And, for the second time in as many games, he was exactly that.
6 – Remy Martin – Martin got the start and helped Kansas get off to a good start, scoring the first points of the game and dishing a tough assist to McCormack for an early bucket. For a minute there, it was shades of the season’s early days, when Martin played like he was shot out of a cannon. He finished with just 7 minutes of playing time and didn’t log any other meaningful stats. He continues to be the in-case-you-need him type of player, but all parties involved seem to be comfortable with that, so call him one heck of an insurance policy and keep going.
7 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – He was almost the game’s hero, launching a sharp-angled buzzer-beater at the end of regulation that would have won the game had he got it off just a fraction of a second earlier. But he did hit a big shot early in the game — after checking in as the sixth senior to play — and grabbed a couple of rebounds in his 7:09 on the court. Like Martin — but in a different way — Coleman-Lands seems to be comfortable with his role and doesn’t seem too worried about not knowing how big or small it might be on any given night. His maturity allows him to stay ready no matter what and that is a luxury that many teams would like to have.
8 – Mitch Lightfoot – He picked up a couple of early fouls and, boom!, just like that the dream of Lightfoot having his best game in his last game were gone. Truth be told, it probably wasn’t in the cards anyway. But he surely figured he’d play more than 9:19 in his final game inside Allen Fieldhouse. The good news was this: One, Lightfoot can handle whatever by this point. Two, McCormack was good enough in his 36 minutes that the Jayhawks were not in desperate need of Lightfoot heading out there to bail him out. Two good developments for sure. And let’s be honest: Lightfoot’s had more opportunities to take the court at AFH than just about anybody, so this one — last game or not — was probably no big deal to him. He got the start. He got the win. And he gave a great senior speech. Call it a successful night and head to the next one.
9 – KJ Adams – Adams mixed it up a couple of times under the basket in the 3:19 he played to help give McCormack a breather. And he got to the free throw line as a result of one of them. One point and one rebound in just over 3 minutes isn’t sexy, but in a game that went to OT, that one point might’ve been bigger than people thought at the time.
10 – Joe Yesufu – Not a whole lot worth noting for Yesufu other than the fact that, even when he’s not putting up numbers or getting big minutes (7:43 in this one), he still finally looks comfortable when he’s out there. KU will need him. They just didn’t in this one.
11 – Zach Clemence – Clemence played just 1:32 and didn’t attempt a shot. No surprise there. He jacked (and missed) two the other night after just checking in and Kansas coach Bill Self noted that he’d like to see Clemence and a couple of other reserves move the ball and get a feel for the action a little more before they start jacking shots. That might’ve factored into his final line in this one. But the limited PT had as much to do with it as anything.
1 – Ochai Agbaji, 278 +
2 – Christian Braun, 260
3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 235
4 – Jalen Wilson, 215 •
5 – David McCormack, 182
6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 148
7 – Remy Martin, 132 z
8 – Joseph Yesufu, 104
9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 94 b
10 – KJ Adams, 81
11 – Zach Clemence, 75 y
12 – Bobby Pettiford, 50 x
• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension
x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11) Done for the season on Feb. 25.
y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11 (returned Feb. 12)
z – Missed 10 games with a knee injury (returned Feb. 26)
- – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19
b – Missed 1 game because of a migraine headache