KU beats Texas Tech on late hoop

By Gary Bedore
The Kansas City Star/TNS

Kansas stretched its winning streak in conference basketball openers to 30 games by topping Texas Tech, 58-57, on Thursday night at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Ochai Agbaji scored 23 points, including two on the game-winning bucket, while Marcus Garrett and Christian Braun had 10 rebounds apiece as the No. 5-ranked Jayhawks (7-1) extended their overall Big 12 road win streak to 10 games, the second longest in league history. KU won 11 straight on the road in Big 12 play in a stretch from Feb. 25, 2001 to Jan. 6, 2003.

Mac McClung scored 21 points and Terrence Shannon added 20 for the No. 14-ranked Red Raiders, who fell to 6-2 on the season.

Shannon, with Tech down by one, had a 12-footer deflected by Jalen Wilson with 2 seconds left. KU rebounded and had the victory. KU had taken the lead on an Agbaji layup with 12 seconds left. He accepted an out of bounds inbounds pass from Garrett.

KU survived the first game of a treacherous three-game stretch to open Big 12 play. KU will meet No. 8-ranked West Virginia at 8 p.m. Dec. 22 and No. 11 Texas at 11 a.m. Jan 2, both at Allen Fieldhouse. If those teams remain ranked, it will mark the first time in school history KU has opened league play against three ranked teams.

KU, which led 29-26 at halftime thanks in part to Agbaji’s 12 points, led by eight points (34-26) thanks to David McCormack opening the final half with five straight points.

However, McClung, who had 13 points the first half, opened a 12-0 run with a four-point play (three pointer and free throw off foul by Braun, and two more free throws and Tech led, 38-34 at 16:25.

McClung was fouled by Bryce Thompson and hit two of three free throws and Tech led 44-39 at 11:12. At that point he had 21 points in the game.

It was 46-39 when KU went on a 7-0 surge to tie the score with 8:14 left. Garrett and Braun had two free throws apiece and Agbaji a three in knotting the scofre.

Agbaji hit 4 of 5 shots in the first half, his teammates 5 of 17. Overall KU, which was 2 of 8 from three, hit 40.9 percent overall for the half.

Tech was led by McClung, who had 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting. His teammates were 5 of 19, hitting 32.1 percent for the half. Tech was 3 of 10 from three.

KU led 29-23 with :32 left. However, Shannon swished a three with 6 seconds left and Garrett missed a driving layup to conclude the half.

McClung, a transfer from Georgetown, scored nine points and Tech led 11-7 early. KU, which trailed 16-13, used a 6-0 run to grab a 19-16 lead at 7:16. At that point, Agbaji had six points, Wilson five and Garrett four assists.The Jayhawks led 27-21 with a minute left after scoring five straight.

KU’s current 30-game win streak in conference openers includes 18 games on the road and 12 in the fieldhouse. KU’s last loss in a league opener was at Oklahoma, 88-82, on Jan. 8, 1991.

KU won its seventh straight game since a season-opening loss to Gonzaga. KU snapped Tech’s four-game win streak.

Texas Tech's Micah Peavy (5) handles the ball against Kansas guard Tyon Grant-Foster (1) during the second half at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.