KU freshmen shine in 82-77 overtime win at TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas – KU freshmen Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji combined for 45 points as the No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks outlasted the TCU Horned Frogs, 82-77, in overtime Monday night at Schollmaier Arena. Dotson posted a game- and career-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds, while Agbaji also tallied a double-double via his 20 points and 11 boards.

The win, which broke a four-game road losing streak for the Jayhawks, moved KU to 19-6 on the year and 8-4 in Big 12 play, while TCU fell to 17-7 in 2018-19 and 5-6 in the league.

Despite leading by 12 points just over midway through the second half, Kansas was unable to hold off a determined TCU squad that had yet to lose a Big 12 home game. The Horned Frogs stormed back on a 17-2 run to take a four-point lead, 69-65, with just over a minute to play in regulation.

Redshirt-sophomore K.J. Lawson came up big for the Jayhawks on their last two possessions to help send the game to overtime. The Memphis native hit a runner in the lane to pull his team within two points with 66 seconds to play, before hitting a baseline jumper on KU’s next possession to pull the score level at 69-69. TCU couldn’t get the game-winner on its final possession as the Jayhawks headed to their third overtime of the season.

Agbaji kicked off the extra period with his second 3-pointer of the game before Dedric Lawson connected on his 13th and 14th points of the game with a turnaround jumper, putting the Jayhawks up 74-69 with 2:41 to go in OT. TCU again had an answer though, responding with a 5-0 spurt of its own to tie the score for what would be the final time on the night at 74-74 with 1:28 remaining.

K.J. Lawson again came up big and put the Jayhawks back in front for good with another mid-range jumper before Dotson put the game away with his free throw shooting. The freshman guard hit all six of his free throw attempts in the final 40 seconds of overtime, all this while the Horned Frogs struggled from the charity stripe. TCU was 6-of-13 from the free throw line in OT.

Dotson’s two charities with nine seconds to play, which notched his 24th and 25th points and a new career high, helped the Jayhawks close out the 82-77 win.

After a slow Jayhawk start to the night which saw TCU jump out to a 7-0 lead, the KU freshman duo of Agbaji and Dotson got their team’s offense going. The two combined for 16 points during a 19-7 response from KU which saw the Jayhawks take a 19-15 lead after the opening 9:32 of the half.

K.J. Lawson helped the Kansas lead get to six points over the next three minutes, with a pair of free throws and a lay-up as the Jayhawks were suddenly ahead 26-20 with 7:00 left in the opening frame. But the Horned Frogs responded with a spurt of their own as Kendric Davis scored seven-straight points during a 12-2 TCU run that handed a 32-28 lead back to the home team. KU’s Quentin Grimes nailed a fall-away jumper at the halftime buzzer to pull the two teams level as they headed to the locker rooms, 37-37.

Agbaji stayed hot after the break, scoring the Jayhawks’ first five points and kick starting a KU run that saw the Jayhawks build their lead into double-digits seven minutes into the second half. But TCU’s run over the final 6:27 of regulation got the home team back into the lead in the waning seconds, but K.J. Lawson’s two buckets in the final 66 seconds pushed the game to overtime, where Kansas would never trail.

Dotson, who tallied the first double-double of his young career, led all scorers with a career-high 25 points, which included four 3-pointers, also a career-best. Agbaji hit the 20-point plateau for the third time in his last five games and posted his second double-double with his 20 points and season-high 11 rebounds. Dedric Lawson also tallied a double-double, his 16th of the season, scoring 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The game marked the first time three Jayhawks posted a double-double in a Big 12 game since 2013.

The Kansas defense helped hold TCU to 32.5 percent (13-of-40) shooting in the second half and overtime as well as forcing eight second-half Horned Frog turnovers.