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Jayhawks fall in Norman, lose 3rd straight

Sooners beat Jayhawks, 75-68

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2013, the Jayhawks have lost three straight, following a frustrating loss in Norman Saturday.

David McCormack, always the subject of much controversy, was heavily involved in this one early on. That was both a positive and a negative, as within the first five minutes he had three points and three assists, while also making just one of his first four shots. It was a back and forth game through that stretch, but difficulty communicating and calling out switches led to some defensive issues for a stretch. A quick 6-0 Sooner run led to a KU timeout close to the ten minute mark, with the Jayhawks down 21-16.

From there, Oklahoma extended their lead to eight, but after some sloppy play by both teams, it was cut to 24-20 at the under-8. The Jayhawks actually generated some decent looks, but it felt like there was a lid on the basket for them. When Marcus Garrett finally broke the seal, OU answered with an easy dunk. At the under-4 it was a frustrating 29-23 deficit. A Marcus Garrett-led 2 for 1 got Kansas to within one, but a final shot attempt from Jalen Wilson didn’t fall, and the Jayhawks were down 29-28 at halftime.

At the break, Garrett led the team with ten, plus five boards. Wilson had scored nine on 3-5 shooting, and McCormack was at five points to go with his three assists, but just one rebound and no blocks, shooting 2-6 from the floor. Combined, the two teams had hit just 37% of their shots, with KU going just 5-15 (33%) from two point range, the same rate at which they were hitting threes.

An easy shot at the rim for McCormack gave Kansas their first lead of the game about a minute into the second half, 30-29, and followed it up with a much tougher baby hook on the next possession. Unfortunately he forced one on the next possession, which has been an issue for him all year. About a minute later he would throw a dunk all the way over the rim. Kansas picked up five team fouls in the first four minutes and found themselves down 37-34 at the first media break of the second half.

Once the foul disparity reached 8-1 in favor of Oklahoma, Bill Self apparently crossed a line and was assessed a technical, and at that point OU went up 46-42. It might have briefly inspired the team, who tied it up at 46 and then momentarily took a one-point lead, but it wouldn’t get Kansas over the hump. At no point was there any palpable feeling that KU was poised to go on any kind of run. The Jayhawks seemed to be in a constant state of trying to close the gap, and couldn’t quite get there. Oklahoma made it a seven point lead with 5 minutes to go, and the Jayhawks couldn’t find any type of offensive rhythm.

At the under-4 timeout, KU was down 63-59. A minute later the lead was five. Kansas never really made it a game again after that and ultimately fell 75-68.

Kansas’ player of the game was definitely Garrett, who finished with 21 points and 12 boards. McCormack ended up with little playing time down the stretch and ended with just nine points, with two boards and four assists. Jalen Wilson had a baker’s dozen, while Agbaji scored ten.

The Jayhawks drop to 4-4 in league play. There are no easy games in the Big 12 for this team, but a Thursday matchup against TCU in Allen Fieldhouse will hopefully get Kansas back on the right side of .500.