🏀 McCormack Finds his Groove, Leads Jayhawks Down the Stretch

by Andy Eisch

LAWRENCE, Kan. – When the game is on the line, teams get the ball to their best scorer. On Saturday, with the Jayhawks leading by two with 16 seconds remaining and possession of the ball, KU turned to junior big man David McCormack to seal the victory.

McCormack did just that. He received the pass in the post, took one dribble toward mid-court and scored a fading hook shot over Oklahoma’s Kur Kuath. After seeing the ball pierce the netting, McCormack let out a flex as he transitioned back to defend their basket, which turned into an empty possession for the Sooners.

“I know he is always going to have some kind of reaction after a big bucket, but that’s good, that’s just great energy for us to go get a stop on defense,” Kansas junior Ochai Agbaji said of McCormack’s reaction.

The shot not only sealed the 63-59 victory over Oklahoma, but provided credence that McCormack is finding his groove.

“I thought we played well offensively. We went to him early, then he made two of the biggest plays of the game, without question, late,” head coach Bill Self said of McCormack. “I’m happy for him and certainly he came up big late.”

Over the last two games, McCormack has led the Jayhawks in scoring, combining for 37 points in wins over TCU and Oklahoma. His 20 points over TCU were the second most in his career.

“I’m playing with a free heart, free mind. Just doing what I can to help the team win,” McCormack said after Saturday’s win against Oklahoma. “Coach always says, ‘Real teams grow as the season goes on’ and that’s definitely what we are doing.”

On Saturday, the Jayhawks turned to McCormack in several key moments. With 2:25 remaining in the game, McCormack received a pass in the post from redshirt-freshman Jalen Wilson, which McCormack took one dribble, gathered himself and sank a hook shot over the Oklahoma defender, giving KU a 58-57 advantage with 2:19 to go.

McCormack’s surge comes after a frustrating 84-59 loss against No. 8 Texas to start the New Year on January 2, in which McCormack was held in check, scoring eight points, all from the free throw line. Since then, McCormack has found his way offensively, leading the Jayhawks through two conference contests in a stretch of important games.

On Tuesday, McCormack and the Jayhawks look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. Kansas (10-2, 4-1 Big 12) is looking for its 12th-straight conference road win, which would break its own conference record. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m., CT on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.