Big 12 Sports Articles

Three Thoughts on Kansas’ Win Over Eastern Washington

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Eastern Washington at Kansas

McCORMACK RETURNS FOR KU

David McCormack made his return to the lineup on Saturday after missing the entire Big 12 Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols. He arrived in Indianapolis, took his final COVID tests and was declared ready. Self said he was going to put McCormack on a minutes clock, but that kind of went out the window in the second half as the Jayhawks won, 93-84. McCormack ended up with 22 points and nine rebounds. In fact, he hit all five key parts of the box score, also finishing with two assists, two steals and one blocked shot. McCormack had just two points in the first half, but found a rhythm in the second half and scored 20 points. With Jalen Wilson and Tristan Enaruna not on the floor for Kansas, the Jayhawks absolutely needed McCormack to play, and he proved to be a difference-maker in the face of two exceptional performances by EWU’s Tanner Groves (35 points, 5 rebounds) and Jacob Groves (23 points, nine rebounds)

 

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THAT FIRST TIME OUT

When Self took that time out after EWU’s 9-0 run to start the game, he looked pretty hot under the collar. And for good reason. You hate to give a No. 14 seed some confidence. And the Eagles played with great confidence for most of the game. But, if you recall, the Jayhawks closed that lead pretty quickly after that first time out. But it took them until the second half to get the lead back. But, big runs in the second half helped, including runs of 14-3 and 14-2. Kansas picked up its shooting touch, too, moving up from less than 40 percent early in the game to nearly 50 percent by game’s end, nearly matching with EWU put up. It all led to what ended up being the Jayhawks outscoring the Eagles, 93-75, after that time out when the Jayhawks were down 9-0.

 

SHOUT OUT TO DAJUAN

Several Jayhawks had good games on Saturday. That includes Ochai Agbaji (18 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and Marcus Garrett (23 points, eight rebounds, three assists). But freshman Dajuan Harris shouldn’t be overlooked. The Columbia, Missouri, product had a career-high 13 points in the victory (with four assists), and many of those points came in the second half with the Jayhawks trying to close the gap with the Eagles. How much of a career high was it? Harris hadn’t scored in double figures all season. He hasn’t been that useful this season, but he came in handy on Saturday, and that bodes well for next season.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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