This was a huge game for both teams, but neither started out acting like it. The first basket didn't come until nearly 2 minutes into the game, when Josh Jackson scored on a traditional 3-point play. TCU started in a little run, getting up 8-4. Devonte Graham got the Jayhawks first block, leading to a 3 by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuik. Lagerald Vick blocked the next shot for TCU, continuing the first half of strange happenings.
TCU outrebounded KU 12-3 in the first 8 minutes, and Josh Jackson appeared to injure his ankle on the first Jayhawk possession coming out of the under-12 timeout. He was immediately walked back to the locker room. He was out for about 6 minutes of the game clock.
Both teams still had a hard time getting anything going, with multiple turnovers and bad shots by both teams. Ultimately, TCU started to find their shots, Landen Lucas picked up his 2nd foul on a highly suspect call, and Kansas went back down by 4.
Kansas made a run to tie it at 35, and TCU scored the next 4 to take a 39-35 lead with less than a minute in the half. But Jackson made a layup with about 30 seconds left, getting fouled in the process. He missed the free throw, but the rebound came to the Jayhawks, and Frank Mason buried a 3 to give Kansas a 40-39 lead. A block by Carlton Bragg preserved the lead going into the half.
Bragg was the unexpected hero of the first half, with 8 points (including 2 monster jams to keep the game close at key points in the half), 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Mason was his usual POY self, scoring 13 points in the first half, including a beautiful swished-3 as he was fouled to tie the game with just under 5 minutes to go in the half.
TCU was led by Alex Robinson with 10 points, and Jaylen Fisher with 8 points.
The Jayhawks retired Brandon Rush's jersey at halftime in a ceremony sharing many of his highlights, including lots of discussion of his play in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Graham started the half hot for the Jayhawks, scoring the first 5 points, and 8 of the first 9 by way of an easy layup and two big 3s.
An 8-0 run that started right around the 16 minute mark put the Jayhawks up by 10 and they kept adding to that margin for the majority of the second half.
The main difference between the two halves was the scoring ability of the Horned Frogs. Part of that was improved defense from Kansas, the rest was TCU just missing. A mini-run almost got the last back to single digits right before the under 4 timeout, but Kansas pushed it back out to the final margin of 19.
Bill Self didn't clear the benches until just over a minute left, using only 7 players for a majority of the game. Mason led all scorers with 20.
We’ll have plenty of coverage in the next couple days, but for now the comments section is yours.