Kansas holds on to beat Oklahoma, moving on to Big 12 Championship semifinals

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – MARCH 11: Marcus Garrett #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots a free throw during the quarterfinal game of the Big 12 basketball tournament against the Oklahoma Sooners at the T-Mobile Center on March 11, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ochai Agbaji dropped a career-high 26 points, leading Kansas to a 69-62 victory on Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament.

Agbajii was efficient, shooting 9-14 from the field and 4-8 from beyond the arc. 

“I was kind of feeling it for a second there. When I had any space, I was just going to jump up and shoot it,” Agbaji told reporters in a postgame press conference Thursday night.

Marcus Garret made plays on both ends of the floor, scoring 17 points while grabbing four rebounds and three steals. 

It was a team effort the Jayhawks, who were without big man David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna. Both will miss the Big 12 Championship because of COVID-19 protocols. 

“Ochai was the best that I’ve seen for a period of time that I’ve seen in the second half than I’ve seen in a long time. Marcus was really, really good. The other three starters go 3-18, we still win. That’s because Juan and Mitch were so good,” Coach Bill Self said. 

It was the tale of two halves, as Kansas dominated the first 20 minutes of play and would lead Oklahoma 35-15 at halftime. 

Behind Austin Reaves 16-point half, the Sooners outscored the Jayhawks 47-34 in the second half, getting the game within one possession with 7:18 to play.

“Second half, we didn’t play near as well. But they were as good as we were the first half in the second half. They were great and they made shots,” Self said. 

Kansas plays the winner of Texas/Texas Tech in Friday’s semifinal round of the tournament. The game tips at 8:30 p.m.

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