LAWRENCE, Kan. – Ochai Agbaji scored a career-high 37 points to help No. 5 Kansas avenge its only conference loss of the season with a 94-91 double overtime win over No. 13 Texas Tech on Monday night.
Agbaji outdueled Bryson Williams, who poured in 33 points for Tech. Agbaji, the reigning co-Big 12 Player of the Week, had seven of Kansas’ eight made 3-pointers. He had 24 points in the second half and two overtimes.
Agbaji hit a guarded 3-pointer near the end of the first overtime to send the game to another period.
“It was kind of like our game Saturday (when KU overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to beat Kansas State) and the Chiefs game” Agbaji said. “When we went to overtime, I thought (the Chiefs) won at all costs. We have to do the same thing. That was so much fun.”
An exhausted Kansas coach Bill Self had nothing but praise for his star.
“It was a great win,” he said after the game. “We played a terrific team that played terrific. We didn’t play great, but we played good. We had one guy go off.
“I think we can play better, but I don’t know if an individual can play better. I told him that I don’t ever remember us having a player play better than that.”
Kansas led by one in the second overtime when Williams banked in a 3-pointer. KJ Adams tipped in a miss to tie the game at 91 with 1:39 left. Jalen Wilson gave the Jayhawks (17-2, 6-1 Big 12) the lead, hitting the second of two free throws 21 seconds later.
After both teams went scoreless over the next 50 seconds, Christian Braun hit two free throws with 10.1 seconds remaining to make it a 94-91. Terrence Shannon missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it a few seconds later.
Braun added 15 points for Kansas, which also got 13 from David McCormack.
Texas Tech (15-3, 5-3) got 17 points from Kevin Obanor and 15 for Davion Warren.
Agbaji and Williams carried their teams early in the second half. Williams had 11 second-half points by the second media timeout. After Texas Tech trimmed the deficit to 3 points, Kansas went on an 8-0 run to grab its first double-digit lead of the game.
“He gave us problems last year (with UTEP), he gave us problems when we played them at Tech, and he gave us problems tonight,” Agbaji said. “He’s a great player. He’s a dangerous, complete player.”
After Kansas grabbed its biggest lead of the game at 70-58, Texas Tech scored the next six points to start a 17-5 run to close regulation. Trailing 75-73, Terrence Shannon hit two free throws to tie the game with 12.8 seconds left. Agbaji’s 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer caromed off.
In the first overtime, Williams put Tech up 80-77 in the first overtime before Agbaji hit 1-of-2 free throws. Obanor then drained a 3-pointer. Braun cut it to 83-80 with a running layup, but Warren extended it to 85-80. Agbaji answered with a layup with 1:09 left.
Kansas then closed the OT with a 6-1 run capped by Agbaji contested 3-pointer with 7 seconds left to tie the score at 86.
When asked if this was the best game of his career, Agbaji simply said, “Yes, it had to have been.”
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders learned that sweeping Kansas is really tough. Tech defeated Kansas 75-67 Jan. 8 in Lubbock.
Kansas: The Jayhawks kept their slim lead in the conference. They lead Baylor by a game, pending the Bears’ game against Kansas State on Tuesday.
The Big 12/SEC Challenge takes both teams away from conference play in their next games this Saturday. Texas Tech hosts Mississippi State while Kansas hosts No. 12 Kentucky.
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