KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ochai Agbaji scored 22 points, two of them coming on a jaw-dropping ally-oop dunk midway through the second half, and sixth-ranked Kansas cruised to a 75-62 victory over TCU on Friday night and into the Big 12 Tournament title game.
Mitch Lightfoot added 15 points while playing extended minutes in place of injured big man David McCormack, and Remy Martin finished with 10 as the top-seeded Jayhawks advanced to play Texas Tech or Oklahoma on Saturday night.
The Jayhawks (27-6) will be going for their 16th conference tournament title and 12th in the Big 12 era.
Chuck O’Bannon had 15 points to lead TCU (20-12). Mike Miles shook off a shooting slump to add 14.
The Horned Frogs and Jayhawks played two tough games just last week, thanks to a COVID-19 rescheduling. They split them, with each team winning at home, but the Jayhawks needed every bit of Allen Fieldhouse magic that they could muster to escape with a 72-68 win in Lawrence.
Jayhawks coach Bill Self spent about 10 minutes afterward lamenting the myriad matchup problems TCU presents.
There weren’t any problems — matchup or otherwise — in the Big 12 semifinals.
TCU scored the game’s first four points, but Kansas soon pulled ahead 10-9 on Braun’s 3-pointer. That was the start of an 11-0 run that forced Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon to call timeout.
Kansas also had five- and six-point bursts to extend the lead later in the first half, and the Jayhawks cruised into the locker room with a 44-30 advantage.
The dominance came largely at the defensive end, where Kansas forced three shot-clock violations in the first half.
The Jayhawks forced another in the second half after the TCU had narrowed the gap to 54-44 with about 16 minutes to play. The Jayhawks answered with eight straight points, the last two coming from Martin after a shot-clock violation, and that gave Self’s squad all the room it needed to cruise through the final 10 minutes and into the title game.
TCU secured its fifth 20-win season under Dixon with a 65-60 win over No. 22 Texas in the quarterfinals, a win that almost certainly clinched the Horned Frogs’ at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. It would be their first since the 2017-18 season, when they ended a 20-year drought but were dumped in the first round.
Kansas only committed six turnovers for the entire game, while the Jayhawks turned 18 of them from TCU into a 23-4 edge in points off turnovers. That was more than the difference in the outcome of the game.
The Jayhawks make their 15th appearance in the Big 12 title game against the Sooners or Red Raiders.
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