The third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks picked up their second-straight blowout victory on Thursday night, shutting down the Stony Brook Seawolves 88-59 to improve to 3-0 on the season.
KU’s depth and talent were both on display in the win, but for the third time early this season it was senior guard Ochai Agbaji who led the way for the Jayhawks. He broke the 20-point threshold again, becoming the first Kansas player in the Bill Self era to score 20+ points in each of the first three games of a season.
On Wednesday, Agbaji poured in a game-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting against Stony Brook, also knocking down four three pointers. He’s now averaging 26.3 points per game, the second-highest average in the nation.
Agbaji led the Jayhawks in scoring in the first half with 10 points before chipping in the other 15 after the break, with 10 of those coming in the first four minutes of the second half.
“I wasn’t hesitant for any of the shots I was taking,” Agbaji said.
The Kansas City, Missouri native has been generating buzz around the college basketball world with his performance so far this season, including NBA draft writer Sam Vecenie of The Athletic hyping up his draft stock. Kansas coach Bill Self said Wednesday night that he thinks Agbaji looks like a pro right now.
“He’s playing with confidence, I think that first game did wonders for his confidence,” Self said. “He’s not forcing anything, he’s playing within himself, he’s very efficient.”
Agbaji’s performance has also, understandably, caught the eye of his Jayhawks teammates. That includes sophomore guard Dajuan Harris, KU’s most-trusted facilitator who has embraced the role of feeding Agbaji the ball.
“My job is to get him open shots, and I feel like if we can do that we’ll be a pretty good team,” Harris said.
Freshman forward Zach Clemence, meanwhile, has been in awe of Agbaji’s start.
“It’s crazy,” Clemence said.
Four Jayhawks scored in double figures in the win over the Seawolves, who were picked to win the America East this year, and 10 players scored total, which didn’t even include senior transfer guard Remy Martin. The Arizona State transfer had no points on just 0-of-2 shooting, although Self said Martin tweaked his back during the game.
Clemence was one of those other top scorers for KU, coming off the bench to contribute 11 points in 12 minutes, including a pair of threes. The freshman said postgame that he’s confident in his shot and is empowered to take threes, even if Self doesn’t always love the shot selection.
“I don’t know when I’m going in, but I know when I go in I’m going to be ready,” Clemence said.
Senior center David McCormack and junior guard Christian Braun were KU’s other top scorers, adding 12 and 11 points, respectively. As a team, the Jayhawks shot 50% from the field in the win, compared to just 38% shooting for the Seawolves. Stony Brook started the game hot from long range, hitting six of its first 10 three pointers, but then nailed just three of its final 15 attempts.
This was the finale game for Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse for nearly a month. Next up for the Jayhawks is the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, Florida, starting off with a matchup against North Texas on Nov. 25. The next KU home game will be at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City on Dec. 7 against UTEP, followed by a return to Lawrence and the return of the Border War on Dec. 11 against Missouri.
Click here to hear from Bill Self following the Kansas Jayhawks’ 88-59 win over Stony Brook.