Kansas men’s basketball erased a 15 point deficit in the second half to get out from behind UTEP, 67-62. After an ugly first half where the Jayhawks amounted to just 20 points, junior forward David McCormack found his groove in the post scoring 16 points in the second half.
McCormack had just 2 points in the first half, after getting stymied by forward Bryson Williams, the senior leader for UTEP. Williams was having his way with the Jayhawks, putting up 13 points and 8 rebounds at the half.
“All respect to Williams, great big man and postman,” McCormack said to the media following the win. [He] helped me defensively, having to guard him and helping me get ready for the Big 12 tournament and going further into March.”
Bill Self talked postgame how the Jayhawks may not have taken UTEP seriously to start the game despite their athleticism. He said they have a couple players, including Williams, who could play for anyone in the Big 12.
“Bryson Williams was the best player in the game,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in the postgame conference.
Williams finished the game with 23 points and 13 rebounds, leading the way for UTEP.
While McCormack was not himself in the first half Thursday night, he knew he had to find himself to get the Jayhawks’ offense back into rhythm.
Junior guard Ochai Agbaji led the Jayhawks’ in the first half, but it was McCormack who set the tone in the second half. He went on a run of 8 straight unanswered points for Kansas at a key point in the game.
“I just kind of slowed down my game,” McCormack said. “Baskets came easy. They wanted to be physical so I made sure to get them in foul trouble, I’m a good free throw shooter.’
Kansas has found an identity for their team on defense, as we’ve seen in the final stretch of Big 12 play, including the Jayhawks’ victory against Baylor, who they held to just 58 points. On the offensive side of the ball, however, it is David McCormack who is the anchor for Kansas.
McCormack ended the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and is now averaging 13.2 points with 6.0 rebounds on the season.
“We’re at our best when we can play through David,” Self emphasized after the game.
Kansas men’s basketball finished up its regular season, going 19-8 overall and 12-6 in conference play. McCormack and the Jayhawks look to continue their success in the Big 12 tournament, which kicks off on March 10th at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.