Sophomore guard Ochai Agbaji found his rhythm against Oklahoma State after not scoring and committing three turnovers in Kansas’ 64-61 win at Baylor. The sophomore scored 15 points in Monday night's 83-58 victory over the Cowboys.
"Our main goal was just to go down there and win. No matter what, and if it takes me not even scoring, then I'll have that any day," Agbaji said about his performance against the Bears.
While Kansas was able to win without him scoring in Waco, Texas, Allen Fieldhouse welcomed the performance for the Oak Park High School product.
Agbaji finished on 5-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes and got off on the right foot as the Jayhawks went to him early in the game.
He made his first shot on a 3-pointer from the left wing after senior center Udoka Azubuike kicked the ball out to him just over a minute into the game.
The sophomore guard wouldn’t score for the next 12:59 and had a shaky turnover, but still he persevered.
Less than two minutes after Agbaji’s first 3-pointer, Cowboys sophomore guard Isaac Likekele stole the ball from him, ran down the court and converted an and-1 opportunity.
After he committed the foul, Agbaji looked upset at himself for turning the ball over and compounding the error.
Still, Agbaji had one of the biggest highlight plays of the half.
Junior forward David McCormack blocked Likekele's layup and jump started a transition opportunity for Kansas. After McCormack’s block, sophomore guard Devon Dotson lobbed an alley-oop pass from around the 3-point line to Agbaji, who slammed it home.
Coach Bill Self said Agbaji, who has helped Kansas become one of the best defensive teams in the country, played well on both ends against Oklahoma State.
Kansas men's basketball defeated Oklahoma State 83-58 in Allen Fieldhouse Monday, Feb. 24. Up next, the Jayhawks travel to Manhattan to rematc…
"I thought he was a lot better offensively. Defensively he's been pretty solid and good basically all year long. But tonight he was different offensively. Much more confident," Self said.
The fastbreak conversion earned the Jayhawks their biggest lead of the half at 27-17 and prompted Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton to call a 30-second timeout.
While it wasn’t a smooth first half for Agbaji, he showed the ability to bounce back once again after halftime.
He didn’t miss a shot (3-for-3) and scored eight of his 15 points in the second half.
The Kansas City, Missouri native boosted the Jayhawks to a 23-4 run that spanned 5:35 and put them up 60-32. Agbaji scored all eight of his second half points during the run.
He started with a tough and-1 as he drove to the right block, made the shot off of the glass while senior guard Jonathan Laurent fouled him.
Agbaji followed it up on the next possession by icing a 3-pointer from the right wing. To round out his second half scoring, the sophomore guard showed his versatility as he made a jump shot from the free throw line off of the dribble.
"I was pretty tired, but I knew we just had to push through," he said.