Graham leads No. 10 Kansas to close home win over TCU
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas had another game come down to the wire in Allen Fieldhouse and TCU couldn’t close out a winnable one late.
These two trends have carried throughout Big 12 play and were on display Tuesday night as Devonte’ Graham scored 24 points to help No. 10 Kansas beat TCU 71-64.
The Jayhawks (19-5, 8-3 Big 12) have struggled this season to dominate at home as they traditionally have, but were able to avoid dropping two straight in their own building thanks to a gritty finish in which they didn’t make a single field goal in the final five minutes.
“Coach said we needed a game like this,” Graham said. “Just a grind-it-out. Had to play to every possession...playing how we should play every game.”
The Horned Frogs (16-8, 4-7) trailed by two with under four minutes left, but couldn’t get it done, going nearly 3 minutes without a point.
“As I told them in the huddle a couple times, we were right where we wanted to be, and we had our opportunities,” coach Jamie Dixon said.
They have now dropped six conference games by single digits, many of which came down to the end like this one.
“It’s tough to compare them,” Desmond Bane said. “We’ve just got to figure out a way to close out games down the stretch when we have opportunities.”
Kouat Noi led the way for TCU with 17 points. Vlad Brodzianksy had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Alex Robinson had a game-high nine assists.
Foul trouble limited Udoka Azubuike to play just seven minutes in the first half for Kansas, but that rest allowed him to play 18 in the second. He finished with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
TCU is now 1-4 against top 10 teams this season. The Horned Frogs haven’t won a road game against a ranked opponent since 1998.
Kansas is now 16-2 all-time against TCU, and is a perfect 7-0 inside Allen Fieldhouse.
NEW LOOK LINEUP
Self announced earlier in the week that Mitch Lightfoot would enter the starting lineup for this game and moving forward, replacing Lagerald Vick who has struggled mightily as of late.
“I think we have a couple of guys that obviously don’t try very hard, and we’re going to make some changes in our lineup, at least one change,” Self said on Monday.
Lightfoot played 22 minutes and picked up six points and four rebounds. Vick, coincidentally, played 29 minutes.
With his nine assists, Robinson passes his coach Dixon for seventh all-time in TCU history. Kenrich Williams made history as well, as his nine rebounds boost him to fifth all-time in the program past Mickey McCarty.
Svi Mykhailiuk entered the game as the Jayhawks’ second-leading scorer, but went without a field goal against the Horned Frogs.
Mykhailiuk’s lone point came on a free throw in the opening minute, and he put up just two shots otherwise. Coach Bill Self says this came not as a result of poor play from Mykhailiuk but rather strong defense on the other side.
“I asked Svi after the game, I said ‘why couldn’t you get a look?’” Self said. “He said, ‘Well, they just didn’t leave me.’ They switched everything so there was always somebody on him.”
Kansas earns a much-needed win after dropping its third Big 12 game this past weekend to Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks now sit in first place in the conference, one-half game ahead of Texas Tech.
TCU continues its slide since losing star Jaylen Fisher, whose knee injury in January sidelined him for the rest of the year.
Kansas travels to Baylor Saturday for a matchup with the last place Bears.
TCU returns home to host Texas on Saturday.