Kansas men’s basketball overcame North Texas 71-59 Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the ESPN Events Invitational.
From the jump, back-and-forth action dominated, with neither team being able to keep two hands on the ball. But in familiar fashion, Kansas hit the scoreboard first with a classic wing three from senior guard Ochai Agbaji.
Following Agbaji’s triple, junior guard Christian Braun kept the hot hand with a three of his own, and from then on, the Jayhawks cruised. Physicality played a huge role in the Jayhawks’ win, especially in the first half behind six trips to the charity stripe. Kansas converted on eight of 11 free throws, which helped them jump out to a sizable first-half advantage.
Amid a transition-heavy first 20 minutes of play, super senior forward Mitch Lightfoot anchored the paint with just six points, but on two-and-one post maneuvers thanks in part to accurate passes from the perimeter.
Speaking of perimeter play, redshirt sophomore forward Jalen Wilson saw the court for the first time this season following a DUI arrest early Halloween morning. Wilson impacted the game immediately with a pass to Lightfoot, which led to a trip to the free-throw line as well as a couple of acrobatic finishes too.
While the Jayhawks did lead by eight at the half, the Mean Green fought their way back into the contest after trailing by double-digits for much of the time.
To start the second half, it was all Braun -- seven points in the first five minutes. The Burlington, Kansas native concluded the game with 16 points on six for eight shooting and five rebounds. Braun finished with double-digits alongside Agbaji  and super senior guard Remy Martin who tallied 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half for Martin, including three deep balls.
Kansas’ bench joined in on the second half firepower as freshmen like forward Zach Clemence and guard Bobby Pettiford saw some action here and there. The pair combined for just four points, all of which came from Clemence, however, fresh legs appeared to help the Jayhawks jump back out to a significant lead.
Kansas plays Dayton at 12:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals of the ESPN Events Invitational.