Mon, 29 Nov 2021

Ochai Agbaji powers No. 4 Kansas past North Texas

Field Level Media
26 Nov 2021, 07:40 GMT+10

Ochai Agbaji led Kansas in scoring for the fourth time in as many games, scoring 18 points as the Jayhawks toppled North Texas 71-59 Thursday in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational at Kissimmee, Fla.

The No. 4 Jayhawks (4-0) advance to the semifinals on Friday against Dayton, a 76-60 winner over Miami. The only other ranked team in the field is No. 10 Alabama playing on the other side of the bracket.

Remy Martin, the preseason pick as Big 12 Player of the Year, drained three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the second half after making just two treys on the season.

Martin finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. His rapid-fire contribution, along with 16 points from Christian Braun, complemented Agbaji, who came into the tournament as the nation's leading scorer with a 26.3-point average.

Kansas coach Bill Self inserted 12 players while attempting to keep his deep team fresh for a three-game run. Jalen Wilson returned off a three-game suspension for a DUI arrest, coming off the bench to contribute seven points, six rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes.

The Jayhawks shot 58.3 percent in the second half to blunt any upset bid by North Texas (2-2), which claimed its first NCAA Tournament victory last season after winning the Conference USA tournament.

The Mean Green shot just 39 percent, though Tylor Perry led all scorers with 23 points. UNT shot 14.8 percent (4 of 27) from long distance and was outrebounded 37-30.

North Texas lost one of its top standouts, Thomas Bell, with 11:46 remaining when he fouled out with nine points and five rebounds.

Agbaji scored 10 first-half points to pace Kansas to a 35-27 halftime lead. The Jayhawks led by as many as 13 before the Mean Green narrowed the margin and scored on four of its last six possessions.

North Texas committed 10 fouls in the first half and made just 2 of 13 attempts from deep but managed to whittle the lead to single digits behind 10 points from Perry.

--Field Level Media

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