Down four rotation players from the beginning of the season, Kansas coach Bill Self started four freshmen for the second time in his 16-year tenure
in Saturday's 84-72 victory over Oklahoma State. Self's next task won't be an easy one either, as the 14th-ranked Jayhawks will need to snap a four-game road losing streak Monday against a TCU squad that beat a ranked team on the road for the first time in 21 years last time out.
With Udoka Azubuike (13.4 points, 6.8 rebounds), Lagerald Vick (14.1 points, 45.5 3-point percentage), Marcus Garrett (7.2 points, 1.8 steals) and Silvio De Sousa out for various reasons, Ochai Agbaji had 23 points and five 3-pointers, Devon Dotson chipped in 18 points, five rebounds and four assists and Quentin Grimes hit two 3-pointers during a 16-2 second-half run that broke open a close game as the Jayhawks bounced back from a seven-point loss to conference leader Kansas State on Tuesday and avenged last year's home loss to the Cowboys. "We did not have any (energy) in Manhattan (against K-State)," Self told the Kansas City Star. "We have to go down there (to TCU) with a purpose and a focus. People talk about running plays and all that. It doesn't matter what you run as long as you have energy and passion. It's contagious. I think we have some guys out there we can feed off of." TCU freshman Kendric Davis provided some energy, scoring a career-high 22 points, while junior Desmond Bane added 17 points, six rebounds and three steals to lead a hot-shooting team to an upset at No. 16 Iowa State 92-83 on Saturday. In the first meeting between the teams this season, Dedric Lawson dissected the Horned Frogs, scoring 31 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and recording three steals in a 77-68 Jayhawks win on Jan. 9.
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ABOUT KANSAS (18-6, 7-4 Big 12): Despite the play of the freshmen, Kansas couldn't have beaten the Cowboys without the effort of junior Lawson (19.6 points, 10.6 rebounds), who had 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Jayhawks remained 1 1/2 games behind Kansas State in their quest for a 15th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title. David McCormack, a 6-10 freshman, joined the starting lineup in place of Vick and went scoreless on three shots but grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot in 14 minutes, while 6-8 junior Mitch Lightfoot had six points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes off the bench to energize the crowd Saturday. "We all appreciate a guy that goes out there and gives us so much effort," Lawson said of Lightfoot, who has averaged 1.9 points in 22 games this season. ... "With the limited time that he's been given (this season), you've just got to tip your hat out to a guy like that. That's much respect. ... We just look forward to him stepping up and being another impact player for us."
ABOUT TCU (17-6, 5-5): Kouat Noi (seven rebounds, three 3-pointers) and guard Alex Robinson (five assists, two 3-pointers) each scored 17 points and Kevin Samuel added six points, seven rebounds and five blocks against the Cyclones as the Horned Frogs shot 53.2 percent from the field. Davis (6.0 points per game), whose previous high was 14 points against Lipscomb earlier this season, connected on 7-of-10 shots, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, and added four assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Bane leads the team in scoring (15.0 points) while adding 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists, Noi averages 14.8 points and shoots 39.3 percent from beyond the arc with a team-leading 48 3-pointers and Robinson chips in 12.9 points and 7.4 assists.
1. The last time Self started four freshmen was 2013-14: Joel Embiid, Frank Mason III, Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden.
2. TCU F JD Miller scored six points against Iowa State, giving him 994 for his career - six away from becoming the 38th Horned Frog with 1,000. Miller, who played in the 126th game of his career, is on pace to break the record of 136 by Brandon Parrish.
3. Noi has connected on a 3-point field goal in 22 consecutive games and Samuel boasts multiple blocks in six of his last eight games.
PREDICTION: TCU 76, Kansas 75 Bet Now
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