TCU could not keep its underdog Big 12 Championship hopes alive, running into a Kansas squad fighting for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
It was a story of many of TCU’s weaknesses being fully exposed by a high-caliber team. Early in the game it was the 3-point defense as Agbaji and Braun were getting easy looks. Then the turnover woes returned for the Frogs, who gave away 18 turnovers in the game, to just 7 for KU. The Frogs also shot under 50% from the free throw line, missing 11 attempts. You don’t have to play a perfect game to take down a Goliath like Kansas, but giving away points and possessions makes it near impossible.
Kansas took the lead with a Christian Braun 3-pointer just under five minutes into the game and never gave it up. Outside of this shot, the Frogs did a nice job of slowing Braun and fellow starters Dajuan Harris and David McCormack: that trio combined to shoot 6-17 from the field. However, Kansas was able to turn to its deep talented bench to pick up the slack. Top transfer Remy Martin (10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and 25th-year Senior Mitch Lightfoot (career-high 15 points, 5 rebounds) were certainly up to the task.
Ochai Agbaji played every bit the part of Big 12 Player of the Year for the Jayhawks and continued his case for National Player of the Year. He poured in 22 points, including a monster ally-oop on an in-bounds play that put an exclamation point on the night. The play put the Jayhawks up 19 came with under 8 minutes remaining and ended all hope of a Horned Frog come back.
Ochai Agbaji took flight here— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 12, 2022
The biggest positive for TCU on the night was Chuck O’Bannon, who brought excellent energy to both sides of the court, with blocked shots to go with a team leading 15 points and 7 rebounds on offense. Damion Baugh was a gift and a curse for the Frogs, following up his game-winning dime yesterday with nine assists tonight, but also giving away 7 turnovers.
Stepping back from tonight’s loss, let’s remember that this team was projected to finish 8th in the conference, lost a large chunk of the roster to transfers, and was written off several times this season. It finished the season 5th in the nation’s most difficult conference, reached the Big 12 semifinals, and will hear its name called on Selection Sunday. This is a team the university and all Frog fans can be proud of, and we look forward to what’s ahead in the NCAA Tournament.
UP NEXT: NCAA Tournament Selection Show. Sunday March 13, 5:00 PM, CBS