They never said it was easy beating a team three times in one season.
Kansas (28-4, 16-2) came into the Big 12 Championship with a 13th straight Big 12 regular season title under their belt and the best coach/player/freshman in the league.
The Jayhawks were without their young star Josh Jackson, however, and the result didn’t go as the team would have wanted, as they fell to TCU (19-14, 6-12) by a score of 85-82.
The first half started off diffrently for the Jayhawks than most of their first periods have of late, as junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk had the hot hand. The Ukrainian scored 13 total points in the first eight minutes, but would be dry for the remainder of the half. He finished the game with 18 points.
Kansas did have a scare at the 10:55 mark in the first half, as Devonte’ Graham went down holding his leg. Graham would hop to the locker room, but did return to the action after jogging out of the tunnel with six minutes remaining in the half.
The first half looked as though it was not going to end well for TCU when head coach Jamie Dixon picked up a technical foul with 3:52 left on the clock. The Jayhawks had forced eleven turnovers, and were playing strong basketball on both sides of the court.
Then, TCU began to flip the script late in the first half, as freshman Jaylen Fisher lit a spark by giving a head fake and laying the ball gently into the hoop, bringing TCU within eight. With the lack of a strong bench, the lead began to slip for KU. The Horned Frogs would end the half on a 16-3 run, holding the Jayhawks without a field goal for the last 4:22 of the half.
Although Kansas led for all but a few minutes of the first half, TCU would take a 43-42 advantage into the break.
TCU came out of the second half gates strong, building an eleven point lead with 13:55 remaining in the game. The Jayhawks would eventually go on one of their own runs a few minutes later. Frank Mason III, who played the whole game and finished with 29 points, converted on a four point play to give his team the lead, 71-70.
With junior guard Kenrich Williams fouled out for the Horned Frogs and a 80-76 lead with just over a minute left in the game, it looked as though Kansas would come away with yet another close victory.
However, their luck ran out on them, as TCU was able to come back and tie the game behind two Alex Robinson free throws, making it 80-80. TCU would later go on to take a two point lead, but Mason III put in two free throws with just 22.4 seconds left on the clock to level things once more.
Then, disaster struck for the KU.
TCU ran the clock down until the ball found freshman guard Desmond Bane. Bane attempted a corner three and was fouled by Mykhailiuk with just 2.5 seconds left.
Bane would go one to make all three free throws, and a timeout was called by Bill Self. When play started again, Lagerald Vick launched a pass to Landen Lucas, which was tipped and fell in the hands of Graham.
Graham, who was 2-10 from behind the arc, missed the three pointer and the TCU bench came storming onto the court, as they had beaten the number one seeded Jayhawks at their home away from home.
After the game, TCU head coach Jamie Dixon was very happy with the collective effort that was exhibited by his squad.
“It took everybody. It took the whole team.”
Kansas head coach Bill Self talked post game about the bench, which wasn’t as good as they would have hoped for. As a whole, the KU reserves only scored three points in 19 minutes of play between three players. Without much of a bench, the starters were all forced to play at least 35 minutes.
“We tried, but we just didn’t quite have it today.”
Kansas will have Friday off, and will then practice on Saturday and Sunday.
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