In arguably the biggest game in Schollmaier Arena, the Kansas Jayhawks escaped with a much-needed road victory over the 16th ranked TCU Horned Frogs.
The Jayhawks started the game red-hot, going 7-7 from the field and taking an early 18-8 lead. KU controlled the whole first half, leading by as much as 14 with 13:22 to go, but entered the locker room only up 8.
The Frogs were able to hang around and eventually took the lead in the second half when a Vladimir Brodziansky basket gave TCU a 71-70 edge with 5:43 left.
Devonte’ Graham put the team on his back in the closing minutes, going 8-8 from the line in the final 2:02. Graham ended the night leading all scorers with 28 points, also making 13-15 shots from the free throw line.
Although Graham stole the show, the player with the biggest impact on this game was sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot. Lightfoot had to play big minutes due to starting center Udoka Azubuike getting in foul trouble, and Lightfoot made the most of it.
Lightfooot scored 9 points, had 7 rebounds and added 6 blocks with his last block coming at the most important of times. Leading 83-80 with 35 seconds left, TCU’s Jaylen Fisher attempted a 3 for the tie, but Lightfoot used his 6-8 frame to block the shot and end TCU’s hopes for a comeback.
It was truly a special game for Lightfoot, also one the Jayhawks needed if they want to continue their dominant stretch of 13 straight regular-season Big 12 titles. KU improves to 2-1 in the Big 12 and 12-3 overall, while the Horned Frogs fall to 1-2 in the Big 12 and 13-2 overall.
Kansas will return home for 2 straight games, Iowa State on Tuesday and Kansas State on Saturday.
TCU will be hitting the road against Texas on Wednesday and then travel to Norman to face Trae Young and the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday.