The Kansas Jayhawks caught fire in the second half and knocked off No. 23 Oklahoma State, 78-66, on Monday, as the Jayhawks improve to 44-1 in ESPN Big Monday games inside Allen Fieldhouse.
With the victory, Kansas improved to 13-7 overall and 7-5 in Big 12 play, while Oklahoma State drops to 12-6 overall and 5-6 in Big 12 play.
Kansas had five players in double figures and three Jayhawks recorded a double-double for the first time since February 2009 against TCU. Leading the way was junior David McCormack with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Marcus Garrett had 17 points, sophomore Christian Braun had 15 points and 10 rebounds, redshirt-freshman Jalen Wilson dropped 11 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds, and junior Ochai Agbaji had 10 points.
It was a tail of two halves for the Jayhawks. As a team KU shot 10-31 (32.3%) from the field and 2-8 (25%) from beyond the arc in the first half. However, they found their rhythm in the second half shooting 13-25 (52%) from the field and 3-7 (42.9%) from 3-point range. Overall, KU was 23-56 (41.1%) from the field and 5-15 (33.3%) from 3-point range.
The game got off to a slow start for both teams. The Jayhawks would turn to their senior guard as Garrett had 10 of his 17 points in the first half to keep Kansas in the game. With three minutes left in the first half Wilson hit a jump shot to give Kansas a two-point lead, one the Jayhawks would hold onto for the remainder of the game.
Immediately out of the break the Jayhawks turned to their big man McCormack. McCormack was 1-of-6 shooting in the first half, but shook that off with a 21-point second half performance.
The Jayhawks refused to give up their lead as the closest the Cowboys could get was three points. Late in the second half Kansas went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 15 points, its largest lead of the night.
Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, who scored 26 points, tried to trim the lead with two late threes but Kanas countered with clutch free throws. The Jayhawks made nine of their last 10 free throws securing the win over the Cowboys.
With under three minutes to go the Jayhawks were up double-digits and looking to close it out. They took their time, dribbling out the shot clock, effectively draining some time. The ball ended up in the hands of sophomore Christian Braun who put up a tough three-pointer with two seconds left on the shot clock. It bounced around the rim, high in the air and in. Braun’s three effectively iced the game, giving the Jayhawks a 13-point lead and some breathing room over the Cowboys.
David McCormack came out with a vengeance in the second half after a slow start. In the first half he was 1-of-6 from the field. In the second half he shot 6-of-9 from the field. He added nine free throws for a total of 21 second-half points. The 21 points by McCormack tied Jalen Wilson for the most points in a half by a Jayhawk this season.