No. 5 Kansas took down No. 14 Texas Tech, 58-57, behind a game-winning layup and team-high 23 points from junior Ochai Abaji in the Big 12 Conference opener inside United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas on Thursday.
In a game that came down to the final minute, Agbaji received an inbound pass from Marcus Garrett and made a layup to put Kansas ahead, 58-57, with just 13 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Texas Tech possession, Kansas’ Jalen Wilson blocked Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon’s shot with three seconds left and secured the rebound to give Kansas the victory.
The Big 12 opener showed a tightly-contested game throughout, where Kansas shot 40% (19-of-47) from the field and 33% (6-of-18) from beyond the arc. Agbaji led all scorers with 23 points and was joined in double-figures by Garrett (10), while Garrett and Christian Braun each secured a team-high 10 rebounds.
Defensively, Kansas held Texas Tech to 32% (22-of-62) from the field, while the Jayhawks out-rebounded the Red Raiders, 40-35. The Red Raiders were led by Mac McClung’s 21 points and Shannon’s 20 points.
With the win, Kansas improved to 30-consecutive wins in Big 12 openers, dating back to the 1991-92 season, with 12 of those wins coming at home and 18 coming on the road. The last time KU lost a league opener was at Oklahoma, 88-82, on January 8, 1991. The Jayhawks also expand their series lead over the Red Raiders, 38-6, while improving to 3-1 against ranked opponents this season.
Thursday’s Big 12 opener marked the earliest conference game for KU since December 13, 1986, when KU took on Colorado as members of the Big Eight Conference.