LAWRENCE (TNS) — A lifelong Kansas basketball fan, Mitch Lightfoot is now 1-0 as a starter as a Jayhawks hoops player.
Lightfoot, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound sophomore forward who was born in Kansas City, then moved to Arizona when he was 6 years old, scored six points and grabbed four rebounds while playing 22 minutes in KU's 71-64 victory over TCU on Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
Opening in place of junior guard Lagerald Vick, who scored 10 points in 29 minutes, Lightfoot came out a winner while making his first collegiate start in 50 career games.
Devonte Graham contributed 24 points with five assists and six rebounds, Udoka Azubuike had 16 points, 11 rebounds and Marcus Garrett scored 10 points as the 10th-ranked Jayhawks (19-5, 8-3) bounced back after Saturday's home loss to Oklahoma State.
Kouat Noi had a career high 17 points and Vlad Brodziansky had 15 points and eight boards for TCU (16-8, 4-7), which fell to 2-16 all-time against KU and 0-7 in Allen.
KU survived an off scoring night by Svi Mykhailiuk, who had one point on 0-for-2 shooting in 36 minutes. Malik Newman had six rebounds, five assists and four points in 33 minutes for the Jayhawks.
The game was tied at 52 when Azubuike hit one of two free throws and Vick made a bucket to give KU a 55-52 advantage at 9:57.
Vick hit two free throws and Graham a 3-pointer and KU led 60-54 at 6:07. However, a 6-2 TCU run cut the gap to 62-60 at 4:16. A pair of free throws by both Vick and Azubuike gave KU a 66-60 lead at 2:47.
It was 66-62 KU when Graham missed two free throws with 43.9 seconds left. Graham returned to the line at 30.6 to make one of two and KU led 67-62. Then, Newman went to the line with 15.8 seconds left and hit two free throws to give KU a resounding 69-62 advantage.
Alex Robinson scored with 10 seconds to make it 69-64, but it was too late for the Horned Frogs.
KU hit 7 of 21 3s for the game to TCU's 10 of 25. KU hit 43.6 percent of its shots; TCU made 40.4 .KU made 16 of 23 free throws to TCU's 8 of 15.
Noi hit four of TCU's eight 3-pointers and the Horned Frogs led 36-34 at halftime. He had 13 points in the half on 4-of-6 shooting, while the Frogs made 41.4 percent of their shots overall to KU's 38.2. TCU mainly hurt KU from 3-point land in the half, making 8 of 15 3s to KU's 4 of 15.
The Jayhawks were led in the first half by Graham, who had 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting. He hit three of KU's four 3s. He was 3 of 6 in the half; everybody else was 1 of 9.
KU led 9-8 at the first timeout as Lightfoot had a rebound and stickback bucket. For the half, starter Lightfoot had four points on 2-of-4 shooting with two rebounds, one block, one steal and two turnovers in 16 minutes. Vick came off the bench and scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 13 minutes in the initial half. Azubuike, a second big in the starting lineup, had four early points.
Garrett scored five straight points as KU erased a 17-12 deficit at 12:51.
KU used an 8-0 run to attain its biggest lead of the half at five points, 26-21, at 8:31. Graham had all eight points in the surge, hitting two 3s and a 10-footer.
TCU, however, used an 8-0 run of its own to turn a 28-27 deficit into a 35-28 lead at 2:21. Noi and Kenrich Williams made 3s and Brodziansky a two in the run.
TCU led 36-34 at halftime as Garrett, who had seven first-half points, tipped in a miss for the final bucket of the half. Garrett actually was KU's second-leading scorer in the half.
KU will next meet Baylor at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.