The Kansas Jayhawks avoided a near first-round upset with a 93-84 victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles on Saturday. The Jayhawks battled all night against a focused and upbeat Eagles program.
The Jayhawks relied on the veteran leadership of senior Marcus Garrett to climb out of a first-half deficit. Garrett had 23 points and eight rebounds. He was strong down the stretch by making clutch plays to keep the Jayhawks in striking distance.
His teammates also pitched in with pivotal plays. David McCormack had 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench. He added two steals and a block in the matchup. Redshirt freshman Dajuan Harris also stepped up with 13 points as well. It was a season-high for Harris after he averaged just two points per game coming into the NCAA Tournament.
Other Jayhawks also paid dividends. Ochai Agbaji scored 18 points and Christian Braun chipped in 12 points. It was a total team effort for the Jayhawks to walk away with a victory.
Despite the March Madness scare, the Jayhawks proved that they can overcome adversity that with their veteran group.
One area to watch moving forward is the Jayhawks interior defense. It could be something to address in the upcoming days after Eastern Washington standout Tanner Groves scored 35 points on 11-for-18 shooting. The Eagles also made 16-of-18 free throws as well.
The Jayhawks will wait for the eventual winner of the USC Trojans and Drake Bulldogs first-round matchup. It will be another opportunity for Bill Self and his program to continue their run in March Madness.
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Here is everything that Bill Self had to say following the Jayhawks victory over Eastern Washington Eagles on Saturday afternoon.