Sooners too much for Jayhawks in Norman, 81-68
NORMAN, Okla. – A torrid first half of shooting by the Sooners paired a flat offensive night for the Jayhawks saw Oklahoma claim an 81-68 victory over No. 13/14 Kansas Tuesday night inside Lloyd Noble Center. Redshirt-junior forward Dedric Lawson and freshman forward David McCormack each scored 18 points, with Lawson tallying his 19th double-double of the season; however, the Sooners got 20-point efforts from junior Kristian Doolittle and sophomore Brady Manek to help OU claim its largest win over the Jayhawks since 1990.
The loss, which brought KU’s chances of a 15th-straight regular-season conference title to an end, dropped the Jayhawks to 22-8 on the year and 11-6 in league play. Oklahoma moved to 19-11 in 2018-19 and 7-10 in the Big 12.
The Sooners couldn’t seem to miss over the opening five minutes of the game. Oklahoma connected on seven of its first eight tries from the field, which included 4-of-5 from 3-point range. This torrid early shooting saw the home team sprint out to an 18-7 lead before five minutes could tick off the clock. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks struggled on the offensive end. KU managed just three field goals over the opening nine minutes of game action, which helped OU’s lead extend to 17 points, 26-9, still with 10:53 to play in the first frame.
Devon Dotson found David McCormack with an alley-oop to kick start a quick 9-0 spurt that cut into the OU deficit. Quentin Grimes hit his lone 3-pointer on the night during that run as the KU deficit shrunk to 26-18 at the eight-minute mark.
The Sooner offense hit its stride once again minutes later though, extending its lead to 18 points with a 10-0 run. The two teams then traded baskets over the waning minutes of the half, before Kansas ended the first 20 minutes of play on a 6-0 run and headed to the locker room in a 13-point hole, 41-28.
If KU had any hopes of staging a second-half comeback, Oklahoma quickly stomped out those out in the early minutes after the restart, largely through its prowess from the charity stripe. The Sooners hit 10-of-11 from the free throw line in the first seven minutes of the second half, helping push their lead to over 20 points. Reshard Odomes’ free throw with 13:41 to play saw OU’s edge extend to 62-39.
Lawson stopped the bleeding momentarily as the KU forward connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to help his team get back to within 17 points, but once again the KU momentum was snuffed out. A 9-3 Oklahoma run put a final end to the Jayhawks’ hopes at a comeback and saw the Sooners’ lead move to its largest of the game at 24 points.
Despite the large deficit, Kansas fought to the final buzzer and closed the game on a 13-2 run, with McCormack adding seven points during that stretch. But it wasn’t enough as the Sooners cruised to the 81-68 win.
Lawson led the Jayhawks in scoring for the fifth-straight game, tallying 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds for his 19th double-double on the year. McCormack went 8-of-11 from the field to tally a career-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds. Agbaji was the next Jayhawk on the scoresheet with nine points.
KU closed the night hitting just 22.6 percent (7-of-31) from 3-point range, the Jayhawks’ worst shooting night from deep since Jan. 2.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
“They were so much better than us. The first possession started it all, when they got a dunk. We didn’t guard them. I actually thought that we didn’t play as poorly offensively as what it looked like, even though it looked awful, but God-dang, you’ve got to be able to make a shot. They were able to shoot it all night long while we weren’t able to jump up and make a shot. When you’re not hitting shots, you’ve got to make sure others don’t. We probably didn’t put enough pressure on them that they ever felt us, so that was disappointing, obviously. I thought OU played great. It was almost reminiscent of the Texas Tech game in how poorly we played, but I also think we contributed to how well they played.”
On David McCormack’s performance tonight being a silver lining in tonight’s loss:
“I thought David did fine. I thought he did some good things. He was our best offensive player, probably. Dedric (Lawson) got some numbers, but he didn’t play as well (as David). I don’t want to say this, because I don’t want to speak for our guys, but, to me, it looked like we were tired. For us to play well, we’ve got to have a lot of energy and tonight we didn’t have it. We talked about it; having the same energy in the locker room, so, if there’s not, we’ve got to have a workman-like type effort; know what your job is and go do it. We never made them (Oklahoma) feel uncomfortable and feel us and they shot lights out. (Brady) Manek and (Kristian) Doolittle, were, by far, the two best players on the court.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes
- The loss marked KU’s second-straight loss in Lloyd Noble Center and tied the series in the venue at 19-19 (KU now leads 52-44 in Norman meetings)
- Oklahoma began the night shooting 7-of-8 from the field as the Sooners raced out to a quick 18-7 lead with 15:30 to play in the first half.
- Kansas trailed at the half for the 11th-time this season, the Jayhawks have a 7-4 record in those games and a 71-69 record in the Self era.
- KU’s 14.3 percent from 3-point range in the first half was its lowest in a half since the Jayhawks went 0-for-6 in the first half against West Virginia on January 19 earlier this season.
- The game marked just the second time this season KU never led. The first came against Texas Tech on Feb. 23.
- KU’s 17 three point attempts in the second half was the most by a Jayhawk team since Kansas attempted 19 in the second half during an Elite Eight victory over Duke on March 25, 2018. KU’s 31 three point attempts in the game was the most by Kansas since it attempted 36, also against Duke.
- Kansas outrebounded its opponent for the 18th time this season, KU is now 14-4 in those contests with a 348-43 mark in the Self era.
- KU gave up 80+ points for the sixth time this season, Kansas is 3-3 in those contests with a 33-38 record in the Self era.
- Kansas failed to score a fast break point for just the second time this season, the first being Texas Tech on Feb. 23.
- RS-Junior forward Dedric Lawson tallied his 19th double-double of the season and the 55th of his career as he scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
- Lawson led KU in scoring for the fourth-straight game and the 16th time this season.
- Freshman forward David McCormack scored a season and career-high 18 points going 8-for-11 from the field while grabbing five rebounds.
- McCormack’s eight makes and 11 attempts were also season highs.
The regular-season finale is set for Saturday, March 9 when the Jayhawks welcome the Baylor Bears to Allen Fieldhouse. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. (CT) on ESPN. Beginning in 1983-84, KU has won a mind-boggling 35-straight season finales. Kansas leads the all-time series with Baylor 31-5, including a 73-68 win over the Bears in Waco on Jan. 12. KU is 16-0 all-time against BU in Lawrence, which includes a 15-0 record inside Allen Fieldhouse.
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