Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji scored 23 points on Saturday and canned two 3-pointers during a decisive second-half run as No. 13 Kansas downed Oklahoma State 84-72 at Lawrence, Kan.
The performance marked the second time Agbaji recorded 20-plus points in the 10 games he has played since his freshman redshirt was shredded. He triggered a 12-0 flurry that gave the Jayhawks (18-6, 7-4 Big 12) a 65-51 lead with 9:48 remaining.
Junior forward Dedric Lawson added a game-high 25 points, with seven rebounds and five assists, as Kansas won its 17th in a row in Allen Fieldhouse, a homecourt advantage that helps offset a 1-6 road mark this season.
Although the short-handed Jayhawks were left to start four freshmen for the first time in six years, they also had four McDonald’s All-Americans on the floor at the outset.
Oklahoma State countered with a thin lineup too following the January dismissal of three players for disciplinary reasons.
The Cowboys (9-14, 2-8) lost their sixth straight conference game despite 22 points and six rebounds from junior forward Cameron McGriff, who fouled out with 4:02 remaining.
After forging a 36-36 halftime tie, Oklahoma State shot just 37.9 percent in the second half. Kansas shot 50 percent for the game and made 11 treys against nine for the Cowboys, who came in averaging the most makes (8.7) behind the arc of any Big 12 team.
Agbaji and freshman point guard Devon Dotson scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, in the first half as the Jayhawks led by as many as six. Dotson finished with 18 points and four assists.
The Cowboys countered with four first-half treys as McGriff scored 11. Junior guard Lindy Waters netted 10 of his 13 points in the first half.
Kansas played without its second-leading scorer, senior guard Lagerald Vick, who has taken a leave of absence to deal with “some personal matters,” according to a statement issued Friday. Sophomore guard Marcus Garrett missed his third straight game with an ankle injury.
Junior center Udoka Azubuike (wrist) and sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa (NCAA suspension) are out for the season, leaving the Jayhawks without players who had combined for 42 starts this season.
—Field Level Media