Lubbock, TX — Ochai Agbaji scored 23 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 13-seconds left in the game, and No. 5 Kansas beat No. 14 Texas Tech 58-57 Thursday night in a Big 12 opener for two of the best teams in the league.
Player of the Game Agbaji Wins It For Kansas
Agbaji shot 8-of-11 from the field and made four 3-pointers to go with his five rebounds in the win.
Marcus Garrett was the only other Kansas player to score in double figures on the night, finishing with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, as the Jayhawks (7-1, 1-0 Big 12) extended their winning streak to seven games.
Christian Braun added 10 rebounds for Kansas, but missed all five of his shots from the field to finish with two points.
It was a slow night as well for KU’s leading scorer Jalen Wilson, who entered the contest scoring 15.3 points per game, but was held for just seven points on 2-of-4 shooting.
Mac McClung led Texas Tech with 21 points, with Terrence Shannon, Jr. adding 20 points and nine rebounds in the defeat for the Red Raiders (6-2, 0-1) who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Texas Tech took a 46-39 lead on a Micah Peavy made jumper with 10:00 left in the second half.
However, the Jayhawks used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 46-46 with 8:14 remaining, forcing the Red Raiders to call a time out to discuss a stretch of poor offensive execution plays.
Both teams continued to share baskets as they went back and forth in the final six and a half minutes of the game.
The game was tied again at 49-49 with 6:34 before Ochai Agbaji connected on a 3-pointer to give Kansas the lead.
Shannon, Jr. tied it up again with a big 3-pointer with 3:10 and then put Texas Tech ahead 57-56 with 34-seconds remaining.
However, Kansas went ahead 58-57 on Agbaji’s layup coming out of a time out with 13-seconds left and the Jayhawks held on for the win.
“Give Kansas a lot of credit, it’s what they do,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “You could write a book on how many great games Kansas gets in that are one or two-possession games and what their winning percentage is under Bill Self.
“It’s amazing and you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. Tonight isn’t one of those that we’ve been in before where we just felt like it came down to the last play.”
Texas Tech struggled shooting the ball in the second half – going 3-for-13 from 3-point range during that period and at one point had a bad stretch which saw them shooting 1-for-11.
The Red Raiders had the ball on the final possession and failed to find a potential winner but Shannon jumper was blocked.
“I don’t think it should’ve come down to the last play. A lot of this was self-inflicted tonight,” Beard added. “We got veteran players that are zeroes across the stat sheet that’s not going to get it done. You’ve got to make free throws in a Big 12 game at home and in an out-of-bounds play at the end you got to find a way to make the play where the other team doesn’t beat you on a layup.
“We practice those things and certainly during the timeout we were talking about that the whole time. Give Kansas credit, we just didn’t get it done. Didn’t coach well enough, didn’t play well enough down the stretch.”
Kansas returns home to continue Big 12 play against No. 6 West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, December 22.
Texas Tech is back in action against Oklahoma on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at the Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma.