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Offensive-minded defensive menace Dajuan Harris Jr. tops ratings after KU upends TCU at Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) gets past TCU guard Mike Miles (1) for a reverse layup late in the second half on Tuesday, March 3, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) gets past TCU guard Mike Miles (1) for a reverse layup late in the second half on Tuesday, March 3, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – If you just look at the numbers, you might not necessarily agree here. But nobody, not even Agbaji, had as much of a direct impact on winning and losing in Thursday’s game. Sure, the block at the end was massive, with KU clinging to a 3-point lead. But much earlier than that, when Harris seemed to ditch the 1,000-pound weight on his shoulders that was holding him down and holding him back, was the moment when things really started to click for him. It was as if he simply said, “I’m tired of this. I’m just going to play ball.” And then he went and did it. He was more aggressive offensively, seemed to find his confidence and finished with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, sparking the Jayhawks’ surge in the second half. Kansas coach Bill Self said after the game that KU is a better team when teams have to guard Harris. They’ve known that all season, but the reminder — and subsequent big time victory — might have come just in time.

2 – Jalen Wilson – No one embodied the idea that the Jayhawks were willing to give better effort than they did in Tuesday’s loss to TCU better than Wilson, who finished with 10 rebounds in 34 minutes. He also scored nine points, drew seven fouls, dished three assist and swiped two steals without a turnover. It didn’t matter if he got to the rim on the drive or if he got anywhere near the rebound on a miss, Wilson was going to go and go and then go some more in this one. He spoke after Tuesday’s loss about needing to be better on a personal level. And then he backed it up.

3 – Ochai Agbaji – For a while, it looked as if Agbaji was going to go for one of those re-donk-ulous nights. He scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the games opening minutes, making one more shot and scoring one less point than he did in the entire game during Tuesday’s loss at TCU. It eventually leveled off and he made just three more shots the rest of the night. But he never stopped being aggressive and he was perfect at the free throw line, leading Kansas with 22 points in 39 minutes.

4 – Joe Yesufu – Joe’s numbers don’t look like much, but they also don’t nearly show how important he was in this game. Self said multiple times this week that TCU was a bad matchup for Kansas because of their extreme athleticism and interchangeable parts at the 2, 3 and 4 positions. Yesufu is one of the Kansas players that can match that athleticism. And when his mind is right, like it appears to be currently, he’s quite good at it. I thought Yesufu looked quick, explosive and athletic for the second game in a row — albeit in limited minutes — and also was absolutely fearless. Kansas is going to need more of that and Self said Yesufu needs to play more moving forward. That line on Thursday night might’ve unofficially signaled the beginning of the end for Remy Martin.

5 – Christian Braun – Braun was his own worst critic after this one, saying he didn’t do enough and wasn’t aggressive enough to help the team like he believes he should. Self gave him a bit of a pass, again pointing to TCU’s athleticism and the difficultly that present for Braun while trying to get open. Regardless, he hit two huge 3s in the second half and finished 4-for-4 from the floor for 12 points and 6 rebounds in 35 minutes. It’s good for the Jayhawks that his standards and expectations are higher, but those aren’t awful numbers. He could’ve shot more. But he could’ve done that and also been 4-for-10 instead of 4-for-4.

6 – David McCormack – McCormack’s best contribution on Thursday night was his 6-for-6 clip at the free throw line. Most of them were big free throws and they led to him finishing with 10 points. The athleticism and size of TCU created problems for McCormack throughout the night, but give the guy credit for working his ass off to fight through it. He battled for position, sacrificed his body on offense and defense and made one key pass out of a double-team that led to one of Braun’s key 3-pointers. Heading into the final game of the regular season, McCormack is averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds per game. Those numbers probably look and sound better than many think he has been. But they’re also pretty darn good on a team that has three clear-cut scoring options ahead of him.

7 – Mitch Lightfoot – Lightfoot was one of those guys who showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that, come hell or high water, he was going to give better effort on Thursday night than he did Tuesday night. At one point, he gave a little too much. After jawing with TCU bruiser Eddie Lampkin before an inbounds play, Lightfoot and Lampkin were warned by the officials. On the play that followed, Lightfoot flushed a lob and was whistled for a technical that Self called “senseless” because of what the conversation with the referee should have told him. All eyes were on the two of them and nobody was going to get away with anything. Lightfoot didn’t, but the sequence still had value. Not only did it give Kansas two points but it also was plain-as-day evidence that KU was not interested in getting bullied and punked in this one like they were on Tuesday night. That’s big for the psyche of a team and Lightfoot deserves a lot of credit for making sure his team felt and operated that way in this one.

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – Coleman-Lands airballed his only shot attempt and played just 3:41. But he also fought for a couple of rebounds and showed the kind of grit and fight that Kansas was missing the other night. That’s a senior and a mature dude knowing how to find a way — any way — to help. The only real knock on him is that he again put the ball down on the deck before launching the shot. He has to stop dribbling so much. It’s simple — shoot it or move it and then move to get it back to shoot it. He knows that. But knowing that and executing that, in the heat of the action, can sometimes be two dramatically different things.

9 – Remy Martin – For the first time all season, there’s really nothing to say about Martin. He played just 3:33 and didn’t look particularly good or bad while he was out there. He may continue to get looks and it might wind up being a hot hand sort of thing. As in, if he happens to look good and be productive Self will leave him out there until he doesn’t. But given the talk of Yesufu’s minutes and the fact that Joe looks faster, more explosive and more confident, it would make sense for Martin to be an as-needed type of player the rest of the way instead of a part of the rotation.

10 – Zach Clemence – He yanked a couple of questionable 3-point shots and sagged off of TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. when he should have done anything but that. It wasn’t the encore performance that many KU fans hoped from the 26 seconds of magic that Clemence gave at TCU. But that doesn’t mean there might not be more ahead. It’s a complete wait-and-see proposition at this point.

11 – KJ Adams – Adams didn’t shoot or miss as often as Clemence did, but he did foul a 3-point shooter in his 20 seconds on the floor. That will get you last in these rankings just about every time.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 270 +

2 – Christian Braun, 251

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 228

4 – Jalen Wilson, 204 •

5 – David McCormack, 172

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 144

7 – Remy Martin, 126 z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 102

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 89 b

10 – KJ Adams, 78

11 – Zach Clemence, 74 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

Reply 7 comments from Kenneth Johnson Matt Tait Lee Short Rodney Crain Robert  Brock Dirk Medema

Zach Clemence’s 26 seconds of action enough to land top spot on off night for Kansas

Kansas forward K.J. Adams (24) and Remy Martin (11) walk past as TCU forward Xavier Cork (12) and Micah Peavy (0) celebrate in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Kansas forward K.J. Adams (24) and Remy Martin (11) walk past as TCU forward Xavier Cork (12) and Micah Peavy (0) celebrate in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

1 – Zach Clemence – He played just 26 seconds before leaving for good with a cut over his left eye, but in that time he recorded a block and a big boy rebound. On a night when nobody in KU blue played well enough to write home about, Clemence was by far the Jayhawks’ most effective player. Maybe he would’ve had better numbers if he had played more. Then again, the way this one went, maybe if he would’ve played more, he would’ve finished with the same sad-sack numbers as most of his teammates. That kind of night for the Jayhawks. But know this; if Kansas coach Bill Self thinks Clemence will rebound the ball on Thursday night, he’ll be on the floor a lot in that one.

2 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson had nine of his 13 points in the first half and he was one of the most aggressive players on the floor during the opening 20 minutes. What happened from there is anybody’s guess. I think plenty of it had to do with the fact that the KU offense was awful in this one, and not just from a shooting-percentage standpoint (37%). KU’s guards drove 1-on-5. Nobody seemed to want to move the ball. And the entire lineup, no matter who was on the floor, seemed to play with the panic of a team down 40 instead of just four. Wilson fell into some of that in the second half. But he finished with decent numbers — 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting with 7 rebounds and 1 turnover in 34 minutes.

3 – Ochai Agbaji – Agbaji got good looks and he worked hard to create them, but boy oh boy did he have an off night shooting the ball. He took 17 shots, missed 13 of them and finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 turnovers in 37 minutes. When you consider that three of his makes came from eight 3-point attempts, you’re looking at a guy who was 1-for-9 on 2-point shots. And it all started on the first possession of the game, when KU won the tip and Agbaji rushed the ball up the floor only to take — and miss — and off-balanced 6-footer to open the game. A sign of things to come that proved to be. Self said after the game that Ochai at least played the way they’re supposed to play. But that consolation prize isn’t worth much in the way of “atta boys” when you shoot 4-for-17 from the floor.

4 – Joe Yesufu – I’ll be honest, I’m only going with Yesufu this high because Self said after the game that he was the best of KU’s three point guards in this one. He played just 10 minutes and made 1 of 2 shots. Nothing special at all in the way of stats. But, when you look back at it, he did at least attack the TCU bigs and try to force the issue. On a night when too many Jayhawks allowed themselves to be dominated, Yesufu’s willingness to attack and fight stood out to his head coach and, yes, eventually to me.

5 – Christian Braun – I thought Braun was the most quiet player in a KU uniform on Tuesday night. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting and also added 5 rebounds, but none of it had that signature Braun fire and passion behind it. He was just kind of out there. This Kansas team isn’t good enough, nor deep enough, for him to just be another dude. He’s got to be that dude, the guy he was against Missouri and so many others. Chalk it up to an off night and be on the look out for a serious dose of the Braun way on Thursday night.

6 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – It’s hard to ignore the 7 assists and 0 turnovers, but don’t let those numbers fool you. KU’s offense, which Harris runs, still shot just 37% and scored 64 points. Harris was off from the jump and he hasn’t quite looked like himself of late. I’m not sure if it’s fatigue or a slump or some other type of frustration that’s plaguing him. But there’s no doubt that he’s off in some manner, particularly when it comes to scoring, which Kansas still does need him to do. He missed all three shots he attempted in this one, including a pair of 3-pointers. Just think what 6 or 7 extra points from KU’s starting PG who played 25 minutes could’ve meant down the stretch. Wherever Dajuan went and whatever it is that’s got him a little off, this team needs him back. Badly.

7 – Mitch Lightfoot – Lightfoot was good early on the offensive end, but he didn’t do much of anything on defense. He grabbed one rebound and watched TCU players score over and around him for much of the 13 minutes he was out there. Still, he deserves some credit for being a stabilizing presence after David McCormack’s rough start. Lightfoot scored KU’s first five points and looked like he took to heart that “We need more out of Mitch” line from Self this week. Moving forward, the Jayhawks need more out of Mitch.

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – I liked what Coleman-Lands did in this one. He shot the ball when he was open, he looked to be aggressive and he was a willing defender. He did have a bad foul. And he only played 7 minutes. But he was out there enough to take a crack at making a difference, and he almost came through. His 3-pointer before halftime was big at the time. But it was his behind the back, stop-on-a-dime dribble to get out of trouble that might’ve been most memorable in this one. Unfortunately for Kansas, it came in the backcourt and was simply a require move to get the ball to the KU point guard safely. They don’t award points or take them away from the opponent for moves like that.

9 – Remy Martin – He played 12 minutes and showed flashes of outstanding effort on the defensive end. But it wasn’t enough. He also threw it right to a TCU player on a key transition opportunity and shot just 1-of-2 from the game. Martin’s still working his way back into the flow, but he’s not going to get more than 10-15 minutes any time soon unless he really shows some of that fire, passion and play-making ability that was there early in the season. The question isn’t whether he can do it or not. The question is whether it’s even still there for him to tap into.

10 – David McCormack – Off from the start to the point of getting yanked out of the game 1:21 into it, McCormack never got going in this one, missing so many close-range shots and struggling to gain control of himself throughout. He finished with decent numbers — 13 points and 8 rebounds — but he played just 21 minutes and got so many of those rebounds by badly missing in close. Give him credit for fighting to get them back, but had it not been for a 7-of-9 night at the free throw line, McCormack’s numbers would’ve matched the way he looked in this one. It’s going to be real interesting to see how he looks against that big, athletic TCU front line in the rematch.

11 – KJ Adams – Adams played just seven minutes, missed his only shot and offered nothing close to the kind of resistance or athletic countering that KU needed against TCU in this one. Every time you think he’d be perfect for a certain matchup, you remember that the guy has played 151 minutes of college basketball in his entire life. Some of these guys play that in four or five games. Because of that, he’s still just not quite there in terms of feeling fully comfortable to the point where his size, frame and natural athletic ability can make enough of an impact in a game like this. No matter how much Kansas could use it.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 261 +

2 – Christian Braun, 244

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 217

4 – Jalen Wilson, 194 •

5 – David McCormack, 166

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 139

7 – Remy Martin, 123 z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 94

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 84 b

10 – KJ Adams, 77

11 – Zach Clemence, 72 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

Reply 11 comments from RJ King Len Shaffer David Robinett James Donnell Surrealku Glen Robert  Brock Koolkeithfreeze Rodney Crain Njjayhawk and 2 others

Ochai Agbaji’s 27-point night not enough for win but plenty for top spot after loss at Baylor

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji, right, drives to the basket as Baylor forward Flo Thamba, left, looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji, right, drives to the basket as Baylor forward Flo Thamba, left, looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Waco, Texas. by Ray Carlin/Associated Press

1 – Ochai Agbaji – He shot just 8-for-22 and 4-for-14 from 3-point range, but he also damn near willed Kansas to victory. Constantly in attack mode, for better or worse, Agbaji made some big time plays and clutch shots, he just couldn’t make them all. His personal 7-0 run, following Bill Self’s technical foul, was as good of a stretch as he’s had all season. He got to the free throw line, hammered a vicious dunk and buried a deep 3-pointer. All of it halted Baylor’s momentum and, at least temporarily, put it back on the Kansas bench. Agbaji finished with 27 points and added six rebounds, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes. Looking back, sitting him for 7 minutes was probably too many. So he’s either going to have to play 38 minutes the rest of the way or KU is going to have to get better and more consistent production from its bench so that when he sits the drop off is not as drastic.

2 – Christian Braun – Braun finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes. He matched Baylor’s physicality and fought hard all night. But his two missed free throws — one on the front end of a one-and-one — were bigger than they appear on paper. Still, it’s hard to question Braun’s contributions in this one after he laid it all on the line. He seemed to play looser in the first half than the second, but it’s also easy to play looser with a double-digit lead.

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – He finished 0-for-6 on the night and missed a pair of wide open 3-pointers that would’ve been big at the time he shot them. But he still finished with 7 assists and just 1 turnover in 31 minutes. It was far from his best night and his poor shooting no doubt will continue to make opponents believe that leaving him open and daring him to beat them will be a good strategy. It’s up to Harris to make future opponents pay the way he made Missouri pay in the past. It did not happen in this one, but he still found a way to contribute, adding a block, a steal and four rebounds in his 31 minutes.

4 – David McCormack – McCormack struggled on defense but none of it was for lack of trying. He simply was facing tough guards and rough mismatches, having to chase down Baylor’s smaller 5 men. But give the guy credit for battling and for another big night on the boards. He added 13 rebounds to his 10 points in 31 minutes, with seven of them coming on the offensive glass. He looked better physically than he did earlier in the week, in KU’s win over K-State, but there’s little doubt that in a game like this one, all of that pounding his body has taken this season played some kind of role. Especially when you consider the hard fall he took early in this one when his legs were taken out from him on a rebounding attempt. Not a great night, but far from a terrible one. If not for the defenses issues, which were not entirely his fault, McCormack’s night would’ve been pretty solid.

5 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson couldn’t buy a shot in this one. He finished 2-of-10 overall and 0-for-5 from 3-point range in 38 minutes. That hurt not only his stat line and KU’s overall shooting but also his confidence and aggressive nature. He tried to attack at times, and it got him to the free throw line on a few occasions. But he didn’t find much luck turning the corner or pushing in transition and that seemed to take him out of his game entirely. I’m sure Wilson took Saturday’s loss hard and will be ready to bounce back with a much better showing when the Jayhawks play at TCU on Tuesday and home vs. TCU on Thursday. He’s been too good in recent weeks to think that he won’t get it back quickly.

6 – KJ Adams – Adams delivered a couple of big buckets in pressure situations and looked pretty good doing it. I’m sure it was easy for Kansas fans to daydream about him guarding BU’s Jeremy Sochan instead of McCormack, but the reality is Adams just isn’t quite ready for that role yet. Maybe in a do-or-die game, he’d get more of an opportunity. But this was not a do-or-die game. As much as the Jayhawks would’ve benefited from winning it, they had room to play with and margin for error. That has disappeared a little, but that fact only makes it less likely that Adams will have any type of sizable role the rest of the way. Still, he continues to stay ready and deserves to be commended for delivering with the minutes he does get.

7 – Remy Martin – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Martin was good on offense and bad on defense. That reality kept him to 11 minutes and also left Kansas searching for ways to cover his weaknesses on the defensive end. I can’t help but wonder if creating/developing some kind of automatic zone defense when Martin’s in the game would be a good idea. We know Self would hate it. And it might not work. Sometimes when bad defenders play in zones, they look even worse because the pride associated with trying to guard your man and keep him from embarrassing you does not hit quite as hard. But it makes sense for this team to want Martin out there for what he can do on offense. It’s just a question of how long can they handle it when they see what kinds of struggles he’s having on defense.

8 – Joe Yesufu – The return of Remy Martin significantly cut into Yesufu’s playing time and he looked like a guy who reverted back to the days of being uncomfortable in the 4 minutes he was out there. It’s worth remembering that this was his first experience in Waco. So it might not have been in the cards for him no matter what happened with Martin. But the Jayhawks have enjoyed his aggressive, attacking, athletic approach and they could have used it on Saturday. He has to figure out a way to stay valuable and relevant even with Martin back in the lineup.

9 – Zach Clemence – No stats in his 1 minute on the floor. Like Adams, Clemence one day will be a much bigger factor in a game like this, with athletes for days on the other side. But for a number of reasons, the coaching staff just doesn’t think now is that time. I get the idea of wanting to give him the opportunity to show that he can do it, but putting inexperienced freshmen out there in an environment like this one against a team like that one is a recipe for the Kansas deficit to grow to double digits like it did at the end much sooner. And in a tough road environment like this one, that’s awfully hard to come back from.

10 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – Played 4 minutes, missed a pair of shots and fouled once. The worst part? One of his misses came when he did the one thing that Self has continually tried to emphasize that he should not do — he put the ball on the deck and tried to create a shot off the dribble. Coleman-Lands is a catch-and-shoot guy. That is his biggest strength and that’s what the Jayhawks want him doing.

11 – Mitch Lightfoot – Four fouls and nothing else on the stat sheet. Not the best night for Mr. Lightfoot, who, because of his experience, heart and pride, could have helped KU a ton in this one, if he were just able to avoid fouling and go into scrap mode. Still, both of the guys Baylor played at the 5 in their small lineup were more athletic than Lightfoot and likely would have given him too much trouble to expect him to play a significant role in this one.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 252 +

2 – Christian Braun, 237

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 211

4 – Jalen Wilson, 184 •

5 – David McCormack, 164

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 134

7 – Remy Martin, 120 z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 86

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 80 b

10 – KJ Adams, 76

11 – Zach Clemence, 61 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

Reply 5 comments from Blake Brown Robert  Brock Rodney Crain Njjayhawk Pamela Shanks Dirk Medema

Efficient Agbaji claims top spot yet again in 102-83 rout of Kansas State

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) signals a made three and a foul on Kansas State guard Mike McGuirl (00) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) signals a made three and a foul on Kansas State guard Mike McGuirl (00) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1 – Ochai Agbaji – Kansas coach Bill Self alluded to Agbaji being in “attack mode” after Tuesday’s win and that’s the absolute perfect way to put it. It’s not that Agbaji’s a lion on the hunt as much as he is a monster of efficiency. He takes good shots, makes sure he can let his mechanics work to his advantage and has such a good feel for his game and his teammates that everything looks smooth and easy while being extremely effective. He has displayed more of a killer instinct than ever before, but even that does not take him out of his optimum efficiency. In short, he’s playing like a player of the year candidate and an All-American. He’s a lock to win the honor in the Big 12 and probably a lock as a first-team All-American. In this one, he finished with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting — 4-of-6 from 3-point range — and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 35 minutes. With numbers like that, who cares about the 5 turnovers, especially for a guy who touches the ball so much in a game with as many possessions as this one had.

2 – Christian Braun – So good again to start the second half, when he scored 9 of KU’s first 14 points. Don’t spend too much time celebrating that with Braun, though. He’ll be the first to tell you that what he did in the second half was what he was supposed to do and that he should’ve played better in the first half. Agbaji called it “balance,” and Braun’s numbers show plenty of that. 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. None of those mean nearly as much as the fire and ignition-switch energy that Braun brings to KU when they need it the most.

3 – Jalen Wilson – Tuesday was one of those nights when Wilson’s shot was falling and he felt like enjoying that for a while. His 4 rebounds and zero assists are both lower than normal, but his 7-of-9 shooting and 3-for-4 clip from 3-point range was a product of a terrific offensive night for the Jayhawks. The fact that Wilson showed this kind of night will only make him more dangerous moving forward. People have known he can shoot, but if he can shoot it like this — or at least be a threat to do so — that’s going to make him even more dangerous off the dribble.

4 – Mitch Lightfoot – Self called Lightfoot part of KU’s four-headed monster, so fourth in the rankings sounds like a good spot for him. The numbers show he belongs. He finished with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and was a key option inside on a night when David McCormack didn’t have it. Heard that one before? That’s because that is the Mitch Lightfoot experience. Like it or hate it, he’s always going to be ready to go and more times than not he’s going to produce. Tuesday was one of those nights. But he won’t spend another second thinking about it. With Lightfoot, both in his mind and in the eyes of the Kansas coaches, you’re only as good as your next one.

5 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Harris made three shots all night and all three of them were really tough floaters. He needed to see those go again and when they did that opened him up to play his game. That showed, too, as he finished with 7 assists and 2 turnovers to go along with one steal in 27 minutes. Harris moved well and attacked with a purpose in this one and it looked lik Kansas State respected him as a scorer. That made him more dangerous as a creator, but probably didn’t hurt anything in terms of his confidence in his own offense.

6 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – Call me crazy, but I loved JCL’s night. Big surprise, right? The guy made all three 3-pointers he took and finished with 9 points in 13 minutes. But it wasn’t just the results that I liked. It was the fact that he looked more confident in getting them than I’ve seen in a while. If he can find more of that in the weeks ahead, he’ll be a legit weapon for the Jayhawks in the postseason. He’s not quite to the level Isaiah Moss was at a couple of years ago because he’s not the same type of defender. But he can be the same kind of instant offense and this Kansas team, which isn’t elite defensively anyway, will take all of that it can get.

7 – Joe Yesufu – With Remy Martin out again and time winding down on the seaons, Yesufu got another opportunity — albeit in small doses — to play point guard for the Jayhawks and looked pretty good doing it. The funny thing about plugging Yesufu in as the lead guard at times is that it seems to have unlocked his aggressiveness. He made 3 of 5 shots, 2 of 4 from 3-point range and attacked hard whenever he found a crease. As long as he does all of that in the right spots and without taking opportunities away from his teammates (which he won’t), he, too, stands to have a strong finish and could be a huge factor down the stretch.

8 – David McCormack – Self said after the game that McCormack’s foot was sore on Tuesday and it certainly appeared as if something was off. He made just 2-of-6 shots, missed a couple of absolute bunnies and grabbed just three rebounds overall. The pace of the game didn’t help him much, and K-State might have wanted it that way. McCormack killed the Cats on the offensive glass in Manhattan and getting up and down all night made it less likely that a similar thing would happen in this one. He played 19 minutes but didn’t have much to show for it — 5 points, 2 assists, a steal and a turnover on 2-of-6 shooting. They’ll need much more than this from him in Waco, Texas, this weekend.

9 – Zach Clemence – Got in in the first half but didn’t do much. Played just 4:37 overall and missed his only shot while grabbing two rebounds and a steal. His emergence in recent weeks has been good to see and important at times, but this is still a guy who missed a month and is just a freshman. No need to expect major minutes out of him any time soon, whether he can handle them or not.

10 – KJ Adams – Adams played just the final 2:45 and logged a missed free throw, an assist and a turnover. None of it mattered in terms of real evaluation, though, because the game was over and the time on the floor was limited. He has prided himself on staying ready and will continue to do so. The question is how much will he be needed?

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 241 +

2 – Christian Braun, 227

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 202

4 – Jalen Wilson, 177 •

5 – David McCormack, 156

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 133

7 – Remy Martin, 115z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 82

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 78 b

10 – KJ Adams, 70

11 – Zach Clemence, 56y

12 – Bobby Pettiford, 50x

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11 (returned Feb. 12)

z – Missed 10 games with a knee injury

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

b - Missed 1 game because of a migraine headache

Reply 11 comments from Darrel Stice Rodney Crain Dirk Medema RXDOC Matt Tait Robert  Brock Mike Auer

Agbaji’s 23-point night, McCormack’s double-double make it tight at the top after tough win at West Virginia

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) and guard Ochai Agbaji (30) speak with an official during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) and guard Ochai Agbaji (30) speak with an official during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. by Kathleen Batten/Associated Press

1 – Ochai Agbaji – For a while, it looked like Agbaji might be headed toward a 30-point night and it wasn’t necessarily because he shot lights out or was even the player that Kansas was running everything through. There were times that that was the case, of course. And he did finish with 23 points. But he seemed to hit big shot after big shot even without you really realizing just how big each shot was. The biggest that I can remember came after WVU had just cut the Kansas lead to three and, less than 15 seconds later, Agbaji pushed it back to six with a smooth triple from the wing. He shot 8-of-15 overall, 3-of-6 from 3-point range and, most importantly, was 4-for-4 at the free throw line. He’s had better games. He’s had louder games. But after seeing opponents try to suffocate him in recent weeks, it probably was super refreshing for Agbaji to find himself getting free again, both on the perimeter and on his way to the basket. He made sure that freedom counted, too.

2 – David McCormack – McCormack’s double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds seemed even bigger than that. That’s probably because a handful of those buckets and rebounds came in the absolute most clutch moments of the game. His and-one bucket late that started on the left block and finished on the right side showed off his footwork and fighting spirit. Had he not missed the free throw, it might’ve been the highlight play of the game. But it was still a big bucket at a big moment and McCormack played big — in terms of being clutch and his physical size — throughout Saturday’s victory. Kansas coach Bill Self called him “great” and you know Self doesn’t just throw words like that around for average or even good performances. It remains to be seen if McCormack can consistently play this way throughout the remainder of the season. But the confidence is there and he appears to be playing hard and being effective pretty much every time out right now.

3 – Jalen Wilson – How about this: Wilson shot just 1-for-5 from the floor and yet still finished with a massive double-double that helped Kansas win a tough road game. The reason? He attacked the defensive glass and was willing to mix it up with whoever, whenever, to preserve another possession for the Jayhawks. And he made 8 of 9 free throw attempts on a night when Kansas very well may have won the game at the free throw line, going 18-of-22. One of the most overlooked aspects of Wilson’s line, which included just one steal, one turnover and zero assists, was the five shot attempts. On a night he wasn’t hitting, he didn’t try to force it to the detriment of his team. Instead, he tried to get downhill, attacked the rim and forced WVU to foul him. And then he made him pay with the easiest shots on the floor.

4 – Joe Yesufu – Another solid night for the guy that Self keeps insisting is not a point guard. That fact made Yesufu’s contributions on Saturday night that much more important. With Dajuan Harris Jr. battling cramps in the second half and generally not all that effective overall, Yesufu filled it at the point and kept the show rolling. His numbers won’t wow you. And he probably didn’t look to score off the drive as much as he still can and should. But he made some of the game’s biggest plays — none bigger than that steal and free layup that put KU up 48-43 — and he was ready to be exactly what Kansas needed him to be when it mattered most — steady.

5 – Christian Braun – Braun was one point shy of a double-double himself, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds, but this was far from his best game. He shot 4-of-9 from the floor, missed his only two 3-point attempts and also, uncharacteristically, turned it over a game-high five times. He should get credit for his defensive effort on Sean McNeil (a tough assignment) and he played 35 minutes, meaning that most of the good things Kansas did came with him on the floor.

6 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Four fouls, a 1-for-4 shooting performance and a couple of iffy turnovers made this a pretty rough game for Harris, who still played 33 minutes while battling through cramping in the second half. It’s not like he was terrible. He dished four assists and swiped a couple of steals. But the WVU pressure and the intensity of playing in WVU Coliseum seemed to speed him up and force him out of his game a little. He’ll be back. I don’t think anyone’s worried about that.

7 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – Returning from a one-game absence with that migraine headache that kept him out of Monday’s home win, Coleman-Lands returned to the floor and played a pretty big role, even if it was in limited minutes. He made one shot early — an easy, rhythm jumper at the free throw line after picking up a loose ball — for his only two points of the night and had a nice chase-down block of Taz Sherman that sparked a Kansas fastbreak opportunity. Nothing flashy. Nothing spectacular. But he was out there and contributing during KU’s 11-0 run that turned a 9-all game into a 20-9 Kansas lead and set the tone for the rest of the night, with WVU chasing and never catching up.

8 – Mitch Lightfoot – Back in his regular role of primary backup to Big Dave, Lightfoot logged 13:24 and grabbed three rebounds and a bucket. He wasn’t great. He turned it over a couple times, including once with an illegal screen. But it was his experience that Self trusted and went with to help guide Kansas to one of those rare and tough wins in West Virginia and KU left the building with a 13-point victory. Hard to be too critical of what anyone did after that result.

9 – KJ Adams – Played just 19 seconds at the end of the first half and checked in to ensure that McCormack did not pick up a cheap foul right before halftime. Neither Adams nor Zach Clemence played other than that, further illustrating how much Self valued experience over anything in this one.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 231 +

2 – Christian Braun, 218

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 196

4 – Jalen Wilson, 168 •

5 – David McCormack, 153

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 126

7 – Remy Martin, 115z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 78

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 73 b

10 – KJ Adams, 69

11 – Zach Clemence, 54y

12 – Bobby Pettiford, 50x

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11 (returned Feb. 12)

z – Missed 10 games with a knee injury

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

b - Missed 1 game because of a migraine headache

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Ochai Agbaji’s 20 points and full stat sheets earns top spot after double-digit win over OSU

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) directs the other guards during a break in action in the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) directs the other guards during a break in action in the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1 – Ochai Agbaji – You could look at Agbaji’s 9-of-10 showing at the free throw line and say that was good enough for him to land on top of the ratings after this one given KU’s recent struggles at the free throw line. And then you’d see that he had 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals and realize he did plenty more to earn this perch. Agbaji continues to be all things for this team and he’s starting to get comfortable with teams trying to take him away. The funny thing about his night on Monday was that he never looked all that smooth doing any of it. That’s a bad sign for KU’s future opponents.

2 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Harris scored and was aggressive as a scorer and that was big for Kansas. Things open up so much more when he’s looking to shoot the ball, which he did nine times, making five of them. The beauty about Harris’ game is that he doesn’t shoot just to shoot. He’ll take good shots. He’ll take open shots. And he’ll take necessary shots. But he’s not going to take shots just to shoot them. He still prefers to set the table for his teammates and he’s starting to become a menace defensively. At one point, after OSU big man Moussa Cisse grabbed a loose ball and started dribbling with it, Harris purposely avoided going to guard him, knowing that Cisse would want to give the ball up quickly. As soon as he did, Harris pounced and stole a possession for the Jayhawks, one of his two steals on the night. It was a thing of beauty, baiting at its finest.

3 – David McCormack – McCormack showed once again that as long as he’s active, he can be productive. Aggressive from the jump on the offensive and defensive glass, McCormack made a 4-of-10 shooting night seem acceptable simply because he got five offensive rebounds in the process. He finished with 12 points and 12 boards in 28 minutes and those are numbers you’ll take pretty much every time out.

4 – Christian Braun – CB delivered a couple of vicious dunks and he, too, was better at the free throw line, knocking in four of his six attempts. He didn’t shoot the ball great — 5-of-13 overall and 2-of-7 from 3-point range — and hasn’t found the same success attacking off the dribble against Big 12 foes as he did in the non-conference season. But he continues to scrap and grind and find a way to put up numbers. He finished with 16 points and four boards in this one in 36 minutes.

5 – Jalen Wilson – The reigning Big 12 player of the week shot just 4-of-11 from the floor and 1-of-3 from 3-point range, a bit of an off night offensively. But most of that came because of his outside shot. He was still really solid going downhill and attacking the rim. Wilson finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds in 25:18, less playing time than normal because of a little foul trouble. Put another seven or eight minutes on Wilson’s PT chart and you’re probably looking at another double-double.

6 – Zach Clemence – He was the first big man off the bench in both halves and he delivered a pretty solid encore to his breakout performance last weekend. KU coach Bill Self called him “active,” stopping short of saying he was that good but also not saying he was in any way bad. Just active. That activity led to 2 points and 6 rebounds — 3 offensive — to go along with two assists, two blocks and darn near half a dozen true hustle plays. Call me crazy, but it feels like the start of something big is upon us. Clemence may never get 25 minutes a game, but he could be playing his way into a very important role for this team moving forward.

7 – Joe Yesufu – Don’t look at the numbers like 1-of-4 shooting or 0-of-2 at the free throw line or one rebound or one assist. Look at the fact that he played 22:29 and was trusted to be out there that long. That’s what matters most for Yesufu right now. And it should come as no surprise given the fact that several Jayhawks talked repeatedly about needing to match OSU’s athleticism. Yesufu can and did do that.

8 – Bobby Pettiford – Played just one minute but looked solid in that time and dished an important assist to David McCormack late in the shot clock for a bucket. The poise of the freshman to get the ball to right spot was only surpassed by McCormack’s ability to drain the shot. It’s nothing to write home about, but in a game like this — after some of the outings Pettiford has had of late — it was enough to bump him up a few spots on this list.

9 – Mitch Lightfoot – Lightfoot surrendered minutes to Clemence in this one and may do so a little more often moving forward. He played just 2:52 and grabbed one rebound while not recording another stat. We’ve written this over and over in this space, but the great thing about Lightfoot is that no matter how much he plays or doesn’t play, who plays ahead of him or what’s going on with the team, you know he’s going to be prepared to do his job when asked to do it. There’s value in that. And even if it means he plays a little less because Clemence plays a little more, you can count on Lightfoot being one of the first guys to help Clemence be prepared for whatever role awaits.

10 – KJ Adams – It looks like we’re into spot duty time for Adams. He’s still capable of playing a bigger role at any given moment, but it’s no longer a lock to happen. Matchups will determine some of it and so with the play of a few of his teammates. Adams will be ready for whatever comes his way and you’ve already seen that he’s happy to go all-out whenever he gets in there. In this one, that wasn’t much, just 2:33 during mop-up time, which led to zero stats.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 222 +

2 – Christian Braun, 213

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 192

4 – Jalen Wilson, 161 •

5 – David McCormack, 145

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 124

7 – Remy Martin, 115z

8 – Joseph Yesufu, 72

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 70 ¢

10 – KJ Adams, 68

11 – Zach Clemence, 54y

12 – Bobby Pettiford, 50x

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11 (returned Feb. 12)

z – Missed 9 games with a knee injury

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

¢ -- Missed 1 game because of a migraine headache

Reply 7 comments from Rae Bricil Lee Short Cshjhawk Matt Tait Robert  Brock

Jalen Wilson’s game-high 22 points and 9 boards tops ratings after big second half pushes KU past Oklahoma

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) gets a put-back bucket over Oklahoma forward Jalen Hill (1) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30).

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) gets a put-back bucket over Oklahoma forward Jalen Hill (1) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30). by Nick Krug

1 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson’s on an absolute tear right now and it continued against the Sooners, really showing up in the second half. He’s been so good in transition, but equally good attacking the paint off the wing. He uses his dribble and his body in the paint to carve out angles and space to hit shots in tight. All of that has led to a smoother performance with the jumper, too. Wilson looks a lot like the Wilson who was so big for KU throughout last season. He continues to say that the switch flipped when he started caring more about his team and the greater good than his own numbers, and there’s no reason to think he’ll change gears away from that any time soon.

2 – Christian Braun – If we would’ve written these after the first half, Braun would’ve been down near the bottom. As Self said after the game, the KU junior was a non-factor in the first half and barely even drew your attention for any reason while KU struggled to a 34-31 halftime deficit. That all changed dramatically in the first 5 minutes of the second half, when Braun went wild, brought life to the Kansas side and helped the Jayhawks assert themselves and their style on the Sooners. Self said Braun was “terrific” in the second half and that might not even be a strong enough evaluation. One possibly overlooked highlight that Braun delivered came when teammate Ochai Agbaji was headed to the free throw line after a hard fall. With Agbaji grabbing his right wrist and his left knee, Braun went to a knee and took his sweet time tying his shoes. The impromptu shoe-tying session — full bunny ears on both shoes — gave Agbaji a little extra time to gather himself before stepping to the line for a pair of free throws.

3 – Zach Clemence – In his first game in a month, Clemence was good on offense, great on defense and even brought a spark of energy that the Jayhawks really needed. You can’t ask for much more than that for his confidence after such a long layoff. And those who know Clemence know that confidence is really not an issue in the first place. Still, he was sound and spectacular all rolled into one and he helped KU pull out a crucial home win in the league race.

4 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Played 39 minutes, made 3 of 4 shots and dished 3 assists to go along with 2 steals. He hit some big shots and had some decent moments on both ends, but nothing crazy stood out. Still, playing 39 minutes is a feat in and of itself, so Harris deserves a tip of the hat for helping KU grind out a win.

5 – Ochai Agbaji – A season-low for Agbaji in the KU Sports Rankings, coming largely because of his 3-of-12 shooting performance. Agbaji is being guarded different and harder than he has been guarded at any point this season and he’ll need a little time to adjust. It’ll come. He’s too good for it not to. And he still played 38 minutes and fought for everything he got. He would benefit most right now from some rest, but it’s hard to imagine KU finding a way to get him much of that in the games ahead as this thing tracks down to the wire.

6 – David McCormack – It looked so promising early on. McCormack had the ball force-fed to him and he scored 7 points and was incredibly active early. That was on offense. On defense, he never found his footing and was constantly subbed out in search of someone who could stay closer to OU’s Tanner Groves on the pick-and-pop 3s. Self said he would’ve liked to get more from McCormack, given how much of an emphasis KU put on him early in the game. But he also said McCormack was fine, meaning you win some, you lose some, on to the next one.

7 – KJ Adams – Like all of KU’s big men not named Clemence, Adams also struggled to defend OU’s Tanner Groves. But he did enough elsewhere to justify a little higher ranking than some of his bench mates, most notably playing solid defense at game point after switching onto guard Jordan Goldwire with the Jayhawks leading by two.

8 – Mitch Lightfoot – By far his biggest contribution was a monster block that helped inject some life into the Jayhawks. Other than that, he struggled to guard Groves inside and out and was yanked quickly a couple of times as a result. Nothing to see here with Lightfoot. He’ll put this one behind him quickly and not think twice about it other than to search for ways he can get better.

9 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – Finished one spot ahead of Yesufu for one reason — he didn’t make any obvious mistakes. He also didn’t do anything to write home about, failing to record a single stat in just under 5 minutes of action. Sometimes, though, no stats in those areas like turnovers and missed shots (particularly free throws) aren’t the worst thing when you’re a role player. Still, Self said this week that KU still needs more from its bench and JCL needs to be a guy who can be a part of that solution. At least until Remy Martin returns.

10 – Joe Yesufu – Played just 3:54 and didn’t do anything to earn more minutes. Missed his only shot — it wasn’t a bad look or decision — and also fouled once and turned it over once. Not the game anyone was looking for from Yesufu. But the biggest question now is simple: Does his confidence dip as a result of this or can he brush it off and continue his late-season surge?

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 212 +

2 – Christian Braun, 206

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 183

4 – Jalen Wilson, 155 •

5 – David McCormack, 137

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 122

7 – Remy Martin, 115z

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 70

9 – Joseph Yesufu, 68

10 – KJ Adams, 67

11 – Zach Clemence, 49y

12 – Bobby Pettiford, 47x

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11 (returned Feb. 12)

z – Missed 8 games with a knee injury

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19
Reply 9 comments from Matt Tait Dirk Medema Dale Rogers Robert  Brock Len Shaffer Lee Short

Wilson’s double-double good for top spot on a tough night in Texas

Texas forward Timmy Allen (0) and Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) reach for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas forward Timmy Allen (0) and Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) reach for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

1 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson was great from the jump, attacking the UT defense and showing that he could get whatever he wanted most of the night. He was not immune from mistakes, of course. He turned it over three times and also missed two free throws. But his team-high 18 points and team-best 11 boards showed his value. Two of the rebounds came from air balls by teammates that he cleaned up and almost made look like passes. The craziest part of Wilson’s stat line was the two zeroes in the 3-point column, as in zero attempts and zero makes. The irony there, of course, is that Self desperately wanted Wilson to yank a 25-footer in the final five seconds before Texas could foul to put him on the line with KU trailing by three. He didn’t. The foul came. And Texas won the game.

2 – David McCormack – McCormack’s value in this one showed most when he was sitting on the bench. KU simply had to have him out there, banged up, foul trouble, winded, whatever. He played physical, battled hard and put up 16 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting. The missed free throw late was a blemish. As was him getting tied up by a smaller player after grabbing a defensive rebound late — which he got after falling to the floor and still getting up fast enough to go grab it, by the way. McCormack was the least of KU’s issues in this one and it’s too bad he didn’t get a chance to get the ball down one with the game on the line the way Self drew it up out of the timeout. Coming through there could’ve been massive for McCormack’s confidence. Still, he should feel good about his night, individually speaking, of course.

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Give Harris credit for knocking in a couple of 3-pointers when Texas made it clear they were going to live with him shooting. But he needed seven shots to score his eight points. When you combine that with his two turnovers and zero steals, you’re looking at a pretty un-Harris-like, inefficient night. No turnover was bigger than the last one, which came with KU trailing by 1 in the final 10 seconds. But KU coach Bill Self said after the loss that he could live with Harris’ decision to drive it because he had made those plays before. It just wasn’t his night to make one and Texas had plenty to do with that.

4 – Christian Braun – The 5-of-8 shooting for 13 points part of his night was fine. The zero rebounds and 2-of-4 performance at the free throw line was not. Braun also dished just one assist to go along with two turnovers. He played 33 minutes and Self acknowledged after the loss that all of his starters needed a couple of days off. But Braun’s a gamer and we’ve seen him shine brightest in those super big moments so many times before. He didn’t quite do that in this one, and a couple of his miscues contributed to the outcome.

5 – Ochai Agbaji – Texas defended Agbaji in a way that forced someone else to beat them and, in terms of the end result, it worked. It wasn’t Agbaji’s fault that his numbers were pedestrian — 4-of-7 shooting for 11 points in 38 minutes. But the fact that he knew the Longhorns were taking him out of the game and yet he finished with zero assists made it a bit of a lower grade than normal kind of night for KU’s leading scorer. It’s one thing for teams to want to defend Kansas and Agbaji this way. It’s another for them to actually be able to do it. Credit UT’s Courtney Ramey for handling the assignment and expect Agbaji and the Jayhawks to go back to work in figuring out what to do the next time a team tries this strategy — or the next time they face Texas (March 5 at Allen Fieldhouse).

6 – Joe Yesufu – He played 14 minutes and contributed again — while looking comfortable at the same time — by hitting 3 of 4 shots including a huge steal and two-handed rim-rattler to give KU a two-point lead late. It’s amazing to think that a guy who appeared to be unplayable just a few weeks ago can have morphed into a key part of the KU rotation. At this point, he seems to be a better option than Coleman-Lands, both because of what he gives the team and because of where his confidence sits.

7 – Mitch Lightfoot – Most nights, Lightfoot is a very capable and reliable back-up for David McCormack, whenever the KU starter finds foul trouble or needs a breather. On this night, that was not the case. Lightfoot struggled to defend Texas’ post players and, as a result, played just 5:44 in the loss. He did draw a nice charge after getting clobbered by Mitchell along the baseline. And he grabbed two rebounds, as well. But he wasn’t out there long enough to do much and the reason he wasn’t was because he couldn’t do much in this matchup.

8 – KJ Adams – Adams, more than any player on this team, so often delivers in the first moments after checking in. He did so again on Monday night, hitting a shot shortly after hitting the floor. But his time was limited to 4:27, as he, like Lightfoot, offered very little resistance against UT’s Tre Mitchell in the post.

9 – Bobby Pettiford – Played just 39 seconds — late in the first half while KU was trying to survive having five players with two fouls — and wound up giving away a tough turnover that led to Marcus Carr’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer before halftime. That’s a tough spot for Pettiford to be tossed into, but he still has to be better than that when given his opportunity. A missed shot or a bad read would’ve been more tolerable than the turnover. But, again, this is a guy who has not had a ton of playing time because of injury and, therefore, can’t be expected to be perfect.

10 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – His stints were short and not so sweet over the 3:05 he played. His defense was an issue on Monday night and he was yanked another time after holding the ball too long in the corner, shot-faking and jab-stepping three times before turning it over. Not his night any way you slice it.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 206 +

2 – Christian Braun, 197

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 176

4 – Jalen Wilson, 145 •

5 – David McCormack, 132

6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 119

7 – Remy Martin, 115z

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 68

9 – Joseph Yesufu, 67

10 – KJ Adams, 63

11 – Bobby Pettiford, 47x

12 – Zach Clemence, 41y

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out with abdominal injury starting Dec. 6 (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11

z – Missed 7 games with a knee injury

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

Reply 4 comments from Matt Tait Dirk Medema Lee Short Len Shaffer

Christian Braun goes bananas to lead 10th-ranked Kansas past No. 8 Baylor

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) and Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) celebrate a three-pointer by the Jayhawks during in first half on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) and Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) celebrate a three-pointer by the Jayhawks during in first half on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1 – Christian Braun – If you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought someone told Braun that the Jayhawks were playing Missouri on Saturday. Much like he did against the Tigers earlier this season, the KU junior came out with a major chip on his shoulder and looked to take great pleasure in making the Bears pay for it. He defended, tried to rip the rim off the backboard and got back to that attacking style that made him so hard to stop in late November and December. That led to 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Braun also finished with a game-high 4 turnovers, but not one of them mattered because of the tone he set for Kansas and for the game and the rest of the production he delivered up and down the stat sheet. Other than the obvious lift from his energy, the best thing about Braun’s day was that he constantly looked to get others going and managed to get his in the process.

2 – Jalen Wilson – If Braun was the heartbeat and inner fire of the Jayhawks on Saturday, Wilson was the motor that made the Jayhawks go. And he was wildly efficient in the process. His numbers were great – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in 29 minutes. But the way he attacked was worth more than all of those numbers combined. His relentless pushing of the pace led to a stellar afternoon in transition for Kansas and kept Baylor in retreat mode all afternoon. And then in the half-court, when he attacked both as a scorer and by going to the glass, he helped Kansas dictate the way the entire game was played. Wilson took a while to get going this season. But he has hit a stretch now where he has been consistently good for a long period of time. And, as I’ve written here before, it seems as if he’s still just getting better, too.

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Seven assists, just two turnovers and, more important than either of those, a big zero next to James Akinjo’s name on the stat sheet. Harris made just 1 of 5 shots and finished with 2 points, but he delivered his third consecutive strong game by simply doing what the Jayhawks needed him to do. Against Kentucky, he was KU’s best player because he found a way to be both aggressive and effective on a day when the Wildcats bottled up the rest of his team. At Iowa State, he was far and away the Jayhawks’ best player, stepping up as a scorer and also leading the charge defensively and confidence-wise to make sure the Jayhawks won without Agbaji. And in this one, with Agbaji back, he put his emphasis on defending and made Akinjo miserable as a result. There’s something to like about this guy’s game every time out simply because he plays hard, he plays smart and he’s the ultimate team player. On those occasions when he puts everything together, he’s far more of a beast than his slight frame and quiet demeanor might have you believe.

4 – Ochai Agbaji – By far the most impressive part about Agbaji’s return to action was how aggressive he was in going after the basketball on the glass. He finished with 9 rebounds — all 9 on defense — and dropped 18 points on 5-of-11 after a one-game break because of COVID-19. He didn’t look winded or overly rusty. His outside shot took a minute to get dialed in, but that’ll happen when you don’t shoot a whole lot for most of the week. Regardless, he failed to let it take him out of the game and found a way to be pretty efficient and effective while playing a team-high 32 minutes.

5 – David McCormack – Scored 9 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, but, most importantly looked aggressive right out of the gate in going after the ball. McCormack couldn’t get his shot to fall in this one (just 1-of-6), but he hit 7 of 8 from the free throw line and grabbed four offensive boards. He’s laboring a little on that sore foot, and Kansas is going to have to do whatever it can to manage that injury the rest of the way. Because, even on a night when he didn’t exactly stand out, McCormack showed yet again how much he can bring to this team when he’s locked in and confident.

6 – Mitch Lightfoot – Add his totals (8 points and 5 rebounds) those of McCormack (9 points and 8 rebounds) and Self got awfully close to that magic mark of 20 & 12 from the 5 position. Lightfoot feasted on the Baylor big men with his jump hook and crafty skills inside, knocking in all four shots he attempted. He played 15 minutes and McCormack logged 21. This outing, minus the 1-of-6 shooting by McCormack, was about exactly what the Jayhawks need from the 5 spot night in and night out. And neither player had to do anything outrageous to accomplish it.

7 – Joe Yesufu – Playing as the first guard off the bench following his strong showing at Iowa State on Tuesday night, Yesufu looked more comfortable in this one — against a high-level opponent and tough guards, no less — than he had at any point this season. His numbers were irrelevant. He made just one shot — an early 3 — and didn’t record anything else on the stat sheet. But his defensive effort and that sense of belonging that he carried himself with both strengthened his case for more playing time moving forward. Came off the floor limping late, but KU coach Bill Self said he was fine.

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – Didn’t play until midway through second half and yet still found a way 8 points in 11 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting. The reason? He came in and played his part by shooting the ball when he was open. The two jumpers he knocked down after checking in forced Baylor to guard him and that allowed him to find room in the paint for a couple of easy layups a little later on. Coleman-Lands came to Kansas as a guy who can shoot the ball and Kansas has to love that he did exactly that, without hesitating, in this one.

9 – Bobby Pettiford – Played late and scored on a tough drive to the rim. At this point, though, Pettiford appears to be deep insurance at the lead guard position, behind Harris, Yesufu and, when he’s back, Remy Martin. That role should allow him time to fully heal from that abdominal injury. And don’t count out the idea of him finding a role down the stretch. If it comes, though, it will be pure luxury and less necessity.

10 – KJ Adams – Almost checked in late in the first half but was called back to the bench after KU got possession and had a chance to run a set play to close the half. After that, he didn’t get back in again until the game’s final minutes with the outcome long decided. Managed to make his presence felt with a couple of blocks, but he also turned it over via a shot-clock violation and was hardly a key part of the equation.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 200 +

2 – Christian Braun, 190

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 168

4 – Jalen Wilson, 135 •

5 – David McCormack, 123

T6 – Remy Martin, 115z

T6 – Mitch Lightfoot, 115

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 67

9 – Joseph Yesufu, 62

10 – KJ Adams, 60

11 – Bobby Pettiford, 45x

12 – Zach Clemence, 41y

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out since Dec. 6 with abdominal injury (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11

z – Missed 6 games with a knee injury

  • – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

Reply 4 comments from Cassadys Lee Short Dirk Medema Dale Rogers

Dynamic Dajuan Harris gets assertive in huge Kansas road win at Iowa State

Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. fights for a loose ball with Iowa State guard Tre Jackson, rear, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. fights for a loose ball with Iowa State guard Tre Jackson, rear, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) by Matt Tait

1 – Dajuan Harris Jr. – Kansas coach Bill Self said after Tuesday’s win that the outing by his sophomore point guard might have been his best of the season. It was. And it might’ve been the best of his career. It wasn’t just the numbers — 14 points, 6-of-8 shooting, 8 assists and 3 steals — as much as it was the degree of difficulty with which he got those numbers. He played basically the whole game. He hit some shots that Self described as “ridiculously tough” and played with an assertive edge, especially on offense. It came on a night when the team played with Ochai Agbaji (COVID) and needed someone to take charge. Credit to him for doing it so well and in such a hostile environment.

2 – David McCormack – The KU big man made all 7 shots he attempted and scored 14 points while grabbing 14 rebounds. He wasn’t exactly unstoppable Dave the way we saw him play at various points during Big 12 play last season. But he was super effective Dave and he played with great energy, effort and tenacity. Some of it, no doubt, had to do with Agbaji being out. The rest of it was surely a response to the way he played against Kentucky. The big question now is, can he sustain it from here?

3 – Jalen Wilson – Wilson was under the microscope in this one, with someone — or some people — needing to step up to offset the loss of Agbaji. Wilson’s track record and confidence made him an easy choice. And, for the most part, he did. He wasn’t perfect. He did turn it over five times. But the rest of his line was pretty great. Thirteen points on 5-of-8 shooting. Six rebounds. Four assists. Two steals. Thirty-six minutes. More than any of the numbers was the way he stayed in attack mode all night. Not just in transition and not just on offense. He played hard and with passion all night and showed, through that play, that Kansas still had enough to come away with a win.

4 – Joe Yesufu – Arguably the biggest single surprise of the season to date, Yesufu’s monster effort in 23 minutes off the bench included 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, all of which Kansas needed to grab the win. Self said after the game that it’s now clear to him that Yesufu needs to play more. Will he? With both Agbaji and Remy Martin out, playing Yesufu 23 minutes was easier Tuesday than it will be when those two are back. But even if he can become a reliable option for 12 or so minutes per game, funcitioning as the type of change-of-pace player who can quickly impact a game, Yesufu’s development and growth — if it continues — could wind up being pretty big for this team down the stretch.

5 – Christian Braun – If you’d have told me before the game that Braun would shoot 5-of-13 from the floor and make just one 3-pointer, I probably would’ve predicted a KU loss. It seemed, going in, that he needed to be better than that, production-wise. But others stepped up to handle that part and all Braun had to do was be out there. He only had 3 rebounds and 1 assist and also turned it over 3 times. He’s had much better games. But he played 37 minutes on a night Kansas never trailed, so the math there says he was solid even if the numbers fall short of expectations. I’d call him solid in timely spots.

6 – Jalen Coleman-Lands – For a few minutes in the first half, it looked as if Coleman-Lands might light his old team up and come through for Kansas in a huge way. And while his two 3-pointers early were big in terms of getting KU going, his minutes from there were limited, partly because of an injured left hand after getting called for a charge and partly because of Yesufu’s emergence. Still, JCL did what KU brought him to Lawrence to do — knocked down a couple of 3-pointers in a few valuable minutes. That role, no matter how big or small the number in his minutes played column gets, will be important the rest of the way.

7 – Bobby Pettiford – Pettiford’s getting closer and he was the first guard off the bench in this one. It also just wasn’t his night. His stats were non-existent and a couple of bad turnovers got him a quick leash. He played just 5 minutes but showed flashes in that time of being at least a little more comfortable out there. Not he needs to be more efficient and execute better. It’ll come. Largely because he wants it so badly and also because Self figures to keep giving him chances.

8 – Mitch Lightfoot – His lone bucket late was pretty important at the time, helping to keep Iowa State at arm’s length and eliminating any hopes the Cyclones might’ve had of a comeback. Lightfoot wasn’t quite his normal self in this one, though. He had just 1 rebound in 8 minutes and was pulled rather quickly after a couple of mistakes, including a moving screen that he immediately protested which Self then quickly explained, yep; you did it.

9 – KJ Adams – After starting at the 5 against the Cyclones in the first meeting and KU being short-handed in this one, it seemed like Adams could find some more minutes than he did. But he played just 5 minutes and produced very little while he was out there. With McCormack playing so well and the Jayhawks not wanting to go with two bigs against the smaller ISU lineup, Adams was the odd man out on this night.

Season standings

1 – Ochai Agbaji, 193 p

2 – Christian Braun, 180

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 160

4 – Jalen Wilson, 126 •

5 – David McCormack, 117

6 – Remy Martin, 115z

7 – Mitch Lightfoot, 110

8 – Jalen Coleman-Lands, 64

9 – KJ Adams, 59

10 – Joseph Yesufu, 58

11 – Zach Clemence, 41y

12 – Bobby Pettiford, 43x

• Missed first 3 games to serve a suspension

x – Out since Dec. 6 with abdominal injury (returned Jan. 11)

y – Out with a toe injury starting Jan. 11

z – Missed 4 games with a knee injury

p – Missed 1 game because of COVID-19

Reply 3 comments from Kenneth Johnson Cassadys Dirk Medema

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