The first game of the State Farm Champions Classic did not disappoint. The Kansas Jayhawks and the Michigan State Spartans clashed until the end of the game. The Jayhawks would prevail, defeating the Spartans 87-74. KU received a big performance by senior Ochai Agbaji, who would score a career-high 29 points. Fans enjoyed this back and forth contest between two powerhouse programs.
Kansas Was Aggressive from the Tip
Nerves were running high as the tip-off occurred at 7:00 p.m. ET. The first official game for both programs inside a historical arena, Madison Square Garden. KU would be aggressive, and their experience and leadership were on display. They would finish 31-64 from the field (48.4%). They also shot 6-17 from the 3-point line (35.3%). The Jayhawks would force 16 turnovers which was a factor in the victory.
Ochai Agbaji Performed Well for Kansas
Senior Ochai Ogbaji scored a career-high 29 points, adding two rebounds and one assist. Ogbaji was not the only Jayhawk in double digits as Remy Martin would add 15 points, and David McCormack would also score 10 points. The game had fans on edge as there were ten lead changes until the Jayhawks would pull away with a 16 point lead in the second half. KU accumulated 44 of its 87 points in the paint and would win the time in possession with 30:53.
Kansas Would Deploy Some New Faces
Kansas fans were able to see some new faces enter the game. They would receive minutes from freshmen Zach Clemence, Bobby Pettiford, and KJ Adams. They would score a combined 12 points, three assists, and post zero turnovers. According to kuathletics.com, this makes Kansas 1-0 for the 16th time in head coach Bill Self’s 19 seasons at KU. Bill Self’s overall record at Kansas would improve 523-118, and between the two schools, the Jayhawks now lead the series 8-7.
Kansas Ready for Next Matchup?
The Jayhawks’ next game will be on Friday, November 12th, at Lawrence, Kansas in historical Allen Fieldhouse against Tarleton State. The game will be aired on Big 12 Now and ESPN+. The tip-off will be at 6:00 p.m. CT. KU looks to continue the winning streak of 48-straight home openers.