NEW YORK, N.Y. (KSNW) — Ochai Agbaji erupted for a career-high 29 points, Remy Martin added 15, and the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks pulled away in the second half to roll on Michigan State, 87-74.
In the first contest of the 2021-2022 season, the Jayhawks looked as well-oiled and poised as possible. They finished the game shooting 48% from the field, and 35% from beyond the arc. However, Head Coach Bill Self said there is still work to be done when it comes to defining a starting lineup.
“I’m still trying to figure out what our best combinations are,” Self said. “What fits best together and those things. The team that we put out there today was too small to be real competitive over the course of time.”
The Jayhawk’s lack of size was noticeable, as they were out-rebounded by the Spartans 40-32, but were extremely efficient with the ball, turning it over only nine times to Michigan State’s 16.
After a strong start from Michigan State, who finished in the Elite Eight at the end of last season, the Jayhawks found themselves in a back-and-forth fight through much of the first half.
At the eight-minute mark of the first half, Michigan State had a 22-21 lead.
Through the rest of the first half, Kansas made some defensive stands and used a 9-1 run to bolster their lead. By the half, the Jayhawks found themselves ahead by 7.
While he didn’t fill the stat sheet in the scoring column, Christian Braun made his presence felt down low, finishing with seven rebounds to go with six points and two assists on the night.
As the game moved into the second half, the lead continued to swell for the Jayhawks, swelling to 20 points midway through the second half. As the game wound down, Self put in the reserves, and they finished the game.
The Kansas Jayhawks will come back to Lawrence on Friday, Nov. 12 for a matchup against Tarleton State. That game will tip-off at Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN+.