FORT WORTH, Texas — Devonte Graham wanted the ball down the stretch, and the senior guard kept making free throws for No. 10 Kansas.
Graham scored 28 points, including eight straight free throws in the final 2:02, and the Jayhawks held on for an 88-84 victory over No. 16 TCU on Saturday night.
“He was unreal down the stretch, making tough plays and free throws,” coach Bill Self said. “That was a competitive dude.”
Vladimir Brodziansky had eight straight points for TCU to tie the game at 77-all before freshman Marcus Garrett’s two tiebreaking free throws put the Jayhawks ahead to stay with 3 minutes left. Graham then made all of his free throws down the stretch for the Jayhawks (12-3, 2-1 Big 12).
“I feel like, if anything, the ball should be in my hands to make plays down the stretch,” Graham said. “I definitely wanted to be the one at the free throw line.”
Svi Mykhailiuk added 20 points for Kansas, which was coming off a home loss to Texas Tech and avoided its first 1-2 conference mark since 1990-91. Udoka Azubuike had 14 points , but played only 13 minutes before fouling out.
Brodziansky led TCU (13-2, 1-2) with 20 points, while Jaylen Fisher had 18 points and Desmond Bane 13 before fouling out. Kenrich Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
It was the first meeting between the schools since TCU upset the then-No. 1 Jayhawks in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament last March. The Horned Frogs went on to win the NIT championship, and started this season with a 12-game winning streak before losing two of its first three games in Big 12 play.
“We’re right there,” Bane said. “We’ve just got to be able to make plays down the stretch.”
TCU’s 17-game winning streak was a school record and the nation’s longest before losing 90-89 in its Big 12 opener at home to No. 7 Oklahoma a week earlier. The Frogs then won in overtime at Baylor.
“A second disappointing loss, but we got what we deserved,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “We said don’t let them make 3s, they got 11. We talked about that, and don’t let them get the free throws. They averaged 10 free throws a game, and they got 33 free throws. … We continue to bail people out.”
Kansas: The Jayhawks got off to a fast start, making 10 of their first 12 shots for a 14-point lead less than 7 minutes into the game. The problem is they couldn’t keep Azubuike on the court. The 7-foot center was 6-of-6 shooting, including inside shots for their first three baskets of the game. He also scored the first basket after halftime, on a dunk after a bounce pass from Graham .
Mitch Lightfoot came on with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
“We couldn’t have won the game without Mitch,” Self said.
TCU: After falling behind by 10 again early in the second half, the Frogs bounced back and were within 48-47 when Bane beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer from the left side. But TCU then went cold from the field until the spurt by Brodziansky.
TCU’s Williams had a rebound and passed nearly the length of the court to Kouat Noi, who got the ball and without a dribble started going up for what looked like a breakaway dunk. It became a highlight block instead.
Mykhailiuk hustled back and went up with Noi, blocking the ball without being called for a foul.
GETTING ONE BACK
“You need to hold serve at home (in conference). But when you don’t, you’ve got to steal one. And this was a steal,” Self said. “Just three games in, we’re not in great shape for the league race, but we’re not in bad shape by any means.”
Kansas, which has already lost multiple home games for the first time in 11 seasons, plays three of its next four games at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks host Iowa State on Tuesday night.
TCU has seven more games in January, five of them on the road. The Frogs play at Texas on Wednesday night and at No. 7 Oklahoma next Saturday.