Tue, 24 May 2022

Resurgent F David McCormack leads No. 9 Kansas against Oklahoma

Field Level Media
17 Jan 2022, 16:40 GMT+10

Kansas' David McCormack was not happy coming off the bench to start Big 12 play.

Heading into Tuesday's meeting between the No. 9 Jayhawks and Oklahoma at Norman, Okla., McCormack said his three-game stint with the reserve unit has given him motivation.

"You always want to hear your name in the starting lineup," McCormack said. "At the same time, it is about production, whether you come off the bench or start. I guess you could say, (as Coach Bill Self) likes to say, (it) 'lit a fire within me.' It just made me play a little bit harder, be a little bit more tenacious."

McCormack returned to the starting lineup in Saturday's 85-59 win at West Virginia, with 19 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds. He also had three assists and a blocked shot.

Before coming off the bench to start conference play, McCormack had started 58 of his 70 games with the Jayhawks over the last three seasons.

"David is piecing some good days together in a row," Self said.

The 6-foot-10 McCormack figures to be a factor against the Sooners, who don't have a player taller than 6-foot-9 averaging more than five minutes per game.

The Jayhawks (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) have won back-to-back games and 10 of their last 11.

Oklahoma has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, shooting just 17.1 percent from beyond the arc over the last two games.

In Saturday's overtime loss at TCU, the Sooners tied a season high with 20 turnovers.

Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said some of his team's decision-making in that loss was "head-scratching."

"I loved Bobby Knight's statement always -- 'You know what the best motivator is on turnovers? The bench,'" Moser said. "We don't have that luxury right now."

The Sooners (12-5, 2-3) have four starters averaging more than 29 minutes per game and their leading bench scorer is Ethan Chargois, who is averaging 4.6 points per game. Chargois missed Saturday's game due to an ankle injury and the timeline for his return is unclear.

Moser said making better decisions would help this team not only cut down on turnovers but also string together better 3-point shooting games.

"You have to make good decisions," Moser said. "If you draw three, you have to be willing to kick it. We'll continue to learn that. That's a byproduct of us coming together and trusting."

The Jayhawks have won 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Sooners, but Oklahoma has won three of the last four in Norman.

Kansas has been without guard Remy Martin the last two games with what Self has called a bone bruise in his right knee.

Martin worked out before Saturday's game and Self said he hoped Martin, who is averaging 9.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists, could return against the Sooners.

"He wants to be out there and I'm not pushing him to be out there," Self said, addressing rumors of a rift between him and Martin surrounding the injury. "I want him to do it at his own schedule, but it is day to day."

--Field Level Media

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