TCU stands in way of No. 6 Kansas' pursuit of Big 12 title
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No. 6 Kansas will try to strengthen its hold atop the Big 12 Conference when it plays surging TCU on Tuesday in the first of two games in three days between the teams.
This game will be in Fort Worth, Texas, with Thursday's rematch in Lawrence, Kan.
The last week of the regular season looms as a doozy for both the Jayhawks and the Horned Frogs, who each play a third game over a five-day stretch.
After playing each other twice -- brought about by an early-season, COVID-19-related postponement -- Kansas finishes the regular campaign at home against No. 21 Texas while TCU plays at West Virginia on Saturday.
The Jayhawks (23-5, 12-3 Big 12) have a half-game lead over No. 3 Baylor, which beat Kansas 80-70 on Saturday in Waco to avenge a blowout loss earlier in the year in Lawrence.
"You could say it's a missed opportunity, but I didn't go into the game thinking that this was going to be a great opportunity or percentage opportunity," Kansas coach Bill Self said afterward. "I went into the game thinking we're gonna have to play really well in order to win, and we didn't play well enough."
The loss snapped Kansas' four-game winning streak. Ochai Agbaji led with 27 points, Christian Braun added 17 points and 10 rebounds and David McCormack notched his eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Jayhawks led for more than 25 minutes, and the game was tied five times and had three lead changes. Baylor ended the contest on a 17-7 run while holding Kansas to 34.3 percent shooting in the game and 29.4 percent in the second half.
"We've got to get ready to play TCU back-to-back," Self said. "And obviously, if you don't take care of business against TCU on Tuesday, you got to win back-to-back games in order to get a tie (in the conference race). So, we've got a lot of work to do."
The Horned Frogs strengthened their claim for a berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 69-66 home win over then-No. 9 Texas Tech on Saturday.
Mike Miles Jr. scored 26 points and had a huge steal in the final seconds as TCU (18-9, 7-8) roared back and played better at the end of a wild game that produced the Horned Frogs' second win in their past three outings.
Emanuel Miller added 11 points and Damion Baugh had 10 for TCU, which was playing its fourth game in a stretch of eight days.
"It was a high-level game, which shouldn't surprise you in this league, and (given) the way we're playing and the way they're playing," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said afterward.
It was the Horned Frogs' fifth Quadrant victory this year and may have put TCU in position for its first NCAA Tournament berth since the 2018-19 season. The Horned Frogs cracked the top 50 in the NCAA NET rankings on Sunday, moving up to No. 49.
"It means everything -- it shows how much fight we have in us," Miller said. "It shows how much we're determined to win. It shows we can overcome anything."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 28, 2022