Marcus Garrett defends Cade Cunningham

Kansas men’s basketball fell to Oklahoma State 75-70 on the road after a late comeback Tuesday. 

Kansas coach Bill Self now has a 6-8 record on the road against Oklahoma State — his second-worst road record against a Big 12 opponent (West Virginia). Junior forward David McCormack led the Jayhawks with a season-high 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. 

The game started a bit quicker than Kansas wanted, keeping things competitive in the first minutes. Junior guard Ochai Agbaji sank crucial back-to-back three-pointers to get the Jayhawks going. 

McCormack got off to a great start in the first half, too, staying strong in the paint and scoring some early points for the Jayhawks. He led Kansas with 12 points and six rebounds in the first half. 

On the other side, Oklahoma State freshman guard Cade Cunningham lived up to the hype, providing the Cowboys with the majority of their points in the first half. Cunningham scored 14 points in the first half, finishing with 18. 

The fast-paced Oklahoma State offense seemed to take Kansas by surprise, with the Cowboys outscoring the Jayhawks 24-8 in fastbreak points. Cunningham was a vital part of Oklahoma State getting out in transition and setting the tone early. 

Even with some timely shots from sophomore guard Christian Braun, senior guard Marcus Garrett and McCormack, Kansas still went into halftime down 16 points — the largest halftime deficit for the Jayhawks this season.

Kansas shot 42% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc in the first half. The Jayhawks also committed nine turnovers in the first half, which led to 13 points for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State’s zone defense ended up bullying and frustrating Kansas. 

Agbaji started out the second half with a three-pointer, but Oklahoma State responded yet again with a three-pointer and layup.

A turnover by Garrett led to a fast break dunk by Oklahoma State junior guard Isaac Likekele, allowing the Cowboys to turn up the heat even more. Following the dunk, Braun hit his first three-pointer of the game, in an attempt to get the ball rolling once again for Kansas. 

Kansas continued to turn the ball over, displaying familiar ball security struggles from earlier in the season. The Cowboys continued to capitalize off the Jayhawks’ mistakes, keeping their lead in comfortable double digits. 

However, Kansas regained momentum thanks to an Agabji three-pointer, which led to a 13-2 run to take a 68-67 lead over Oklahoma State. 

After a scramble on the floor due to a jump ball, freshman guard Bryce Thompson aggressive efforts kept the possession for Kansas. However, Thompson — who missed the past three games with a back injury — went to the locker room to evaluate a potential wrist injury. 

After a huge block by McCormack, he ran it back to sink a jumper, bringing the Jayhawks' lead by three points with less than two minutes to go. Likekele responded with a massive three-pointer to tie the game 70-70 with a minute left to play. 

Cunningham saved the game for the Cowboys with a pass to freshman guard Rondel Walker who got two points and a free throw to go, putting them up three with less than 30 seconds to go. Then came a timeout after a scramble on the floor for a possession, leaving the ball with the Cowboys. 

However, senior guard Bryce Williams missed a free throw, giving the ball back to Kansas with just 12 seconds left. Oklahoma State then fouled Kansas to try to get the possession back. Oklahoma State then knocked the ball out of bounds, giving Kansas the ball with four seconds left. 

Garrett threw the ball inbounds after a timeout to Braun in an attempt to get a three-pointer to get the game to a tie, however, the ball was stolen by Williams and dunked to end the game. 

Kansas will next face Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday at 1 p.m.