FORT WORTH, Texas – – Big 12 leading scorer Jalen Wilson was struggling with his shooting for third-ranked Kansas, and freshman standout Gradey Dick did not score again after reaching 19 points just two minutes into the game second half.
The Jayhawks, chasing their 21st Big 12 regular season title, never trailed after halftime and extended the league’s longest active hitting streak to five straight, beating 24th TCU 63-58 Monday evening.
“I’ve always said, we have five guys who can all go out there and play and take control of the game,” said Wilson, who had 13 rebounds while hitting just 3-of-11 shooting for seven points, more than 13 below his seasonal average “We’ll all have to make some effort to win… He’s part of a championship team.
Damion Baugh missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds left for TCU (18-10, 7-8 Big 12). Shahada Wells missed an ensuing layup before Kevin McCullar, who finished with 15 points, was fouled and made two free throws to seal the game for the Jayhawks (23-5, 11-4).
Kansas began the night tied with inactive Texas in eighth place for the conference leadership. Head coach Bill Self’s team won seven of eight games from a three-game losing streak that included a 23-point home loss to the Horned Frogs.
“We didn’t make jacks, but we put ourselves in a good position to maybe make something,” Self said. “Everyone has been talking about our sky collapsing when we’ve lost three in a row. In this championship it can happen easily. But we’ve recovered quite well since then.”
Not even an appearance by Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan could get the Frogs past. They were up 56-53 with 6:07 left when the four-year starting quarterback, still in a tux after receiving the Davey O’Brien Award at a ceremony about four miles from campus, roused the crowd into a frenzy on his way to a pitchside location.
“He looked good in a tuxedo tonight,” Self said. “I’m just glad it didn’t come sooner.”
Neither team made a field goal in the last 4:19. TCU has missed its last six shots in that span, while the Jayhawks were 0 for 4 in the last 4:45.
The Frogs tied the game at 48 with 10:13 left when Jakobe Coles made a short leaner while being fouled but missed the free throw that would have given them the lead.
Mike Miles Jr. had 13 points for TCU, which has lost five of its last six games. The first four of those losses came when the guard was out with a hyperextended right knee. Coles added 12 points and Baugh had 11.
It was only the second game that Miles and big man Eddie Lampkin have played together for the Frogs since their 83-60 victory at Allen Fieldhouse on January 21. That was the second-worst home loss for Kansas in Self’s 20 seasons.
With both restarted, TCU beat Oklahoma State 100-75 at home Saturday to end a four-game losing streak, reaching the century mark for the first time in a Big 12 game. Lampkin, who missed four of six games after spraining his left ankle in the first game against the Jayhawks, he had two points and eight rebounds in the rematch.
“It’s disappointing how we played, how we performed and how we handled the situation,” said TCU coach Jamie Dixon. “Obviously we played well in our last game, excited to have our boys back. But we just didn’t bring it back.”
Kansas: The Jayhawks achieved 11 conference wins for the 29th straight season, a streak that began in 1994-95 and is the longest active in Division I. They have three regular season games left, two at home before the Texas Finals.
TCU: After shooting a season-high 68.6% against Oklahoma State two days earlier, the Frogs were a season-low 30.3% (20-for-66) from the field against Kansas. They missed the first eight shots in the first 5 and a half minutes of the game, then missed the last six shots before the break. TCU has lost nine of their last 10.
Kansas is home Saturday to play West Virginia.
TCU travels to Texas Tech on Saturday.
AP college basketball: ee