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Moments That Popped: No. 6 Kansas 67, No. 25 Oklahoma 57

Jayhawks get back to winning ways away from home with 10-point win at OU

5 min read
KU senior Kevin McCullar Jr. was back on the floor for the Jayhawks during Saturday's 67-57 win at Oklahoma. [Kansas Athletics photo]

The 6th-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team demonstrated that it remembered what it’s like to go on the road and come home with a win on Saturday afternoon.

KU entered the day 1-5 on the road in Big 12 Conference play and left on the very right side of a 67-57 win over No. 25 Oklahoma.

It was the Jayhawks’ first road win since a Jan. 16 win at Oklahoma State and moved the Jayhawks to 20-6 overall and 8-5 in Big 12 play.

It took a while for KU to find its footing in this one, but once they did, they looked virtually unstoppable. Hunter Dickinson led Kansas with 20 points and 16 rebounds, good for his 14th double-double of the season.

Freshman guard Johnny Furphy added 15 points and 9 rebounds, most importantly with three 3-point makes on the day, while Dajuan Harris Jr. added 11 points and 7 assists with no turnovers.

The Jayhawks are now 7-2 against ranked teams this season, with the 7 victories being the most of any team in the country to date.

Kansas trailed by 11 with less than 2 minutes to play in the first half but managed to cut the deficit to 5 at halftime, which might’ve been the most critical stretch of this game.

It’s hard to know exactly what would’ve happened if the Oklahoma lead remained at double figures at halftime, but you can’t help but wonder how much more difficult that would’ve made the Jayhawks’ second-half comeback.

Next up, the Jayhawks will have the rest of the week off before returning to action on Saturday at home against Texas. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.

After that, it’s on to the home stretch, with home games against BYU and K-State and tough rough road contests at Baylor and Houston to close out the regular season.

Here’s a look back at some of the highlights and memorable moments from the Jayhawks’ big road win on Saturday.


• McCullar returns: Although it sounded all week like McCullar would be out there on Saturday, he still deserves a ton of credit for getting himself ready, both physically and mentally. After missing the last two games because of injury, McCullar returned to action and re-took his regular role as a rebounder, a defensive presence and a high-volume shooter. He hit a big 3-pointer midway through the second half that gave Kansas a 49-46 lead, which was significant given the fact that Kansas, up to that point, had barely led for 2 of the 30+ minutes of this one. McCullar finished the day with 10 points and 8 rebounds in 35+ minutes.

• Late-game execution: It’s been a minute, but the Jayhawks finally started to look like themselves again late in this one. The confidence was back. The execution was there. And it was KU that dictated the way things went on the court, especially on the offensive end. A lot of it came with McCullar sittingon the bench with 4 fouls, too. Among the highlights from this sequence late in the game were: A McCullar 3 from the wing, which came in perfect rhythm; an easy basket by KJ Adams out of the short roll; A catch-and-shoot Furphy 3 that reminded you of that stretch when Furphy couldn’t miss; and a Dajuan Harris Jr. drive to the rim which was aided by the threat of Adams catching the pass on the short roll.

• KJ in the post: I wasn’t able to track exactly how often it happened, but I loved it when it did. Although he’s not a true back-to-the-basket post player, Adams is a play-maker. And giving him the ball in the post, where he can turn and make a move or create for others out of it, was a nice wrinkle that not only proved effective but also opened up his ability to attack out of the short roll around the free throw line, where he has proven to be his absolute best for the past couple of seasons.

• Ask and you shall receive: Plenty was made about KU coach Bill Self getting ejected from Monday’s game at Texas Tech, and the Hall of Fame coach used the moment to voice his displeasure with the way the game has been officiated, from a physicality standpoint, during the past couple of months. It might’ve been just a coincidence, but it sure looked like the Big 12 officials assigned to KU’s game heard that message, as they called this one a little tighter, especially when it came to contact in the paint.


• McCullar rust: We gave McCullar credit above for his ability and fight to get back on the floor for this one. But his return did not come without its moments of rust. That’s not a knock. If fact, it would’ve been weird if we didn’t see at least some rust from the KU guard. Not only had he not played for a couple of games, which required him to get readjusted to the flow and his teammates, but he also had to figure out how much he could handle playing through the lingering effects of the injury. Because he’s such a gamer and competitor, it’s no surprise that McCullar wanted it badly when he got back on the floor. But that occasionally led to a few sped-up possessions/turnovers and another inefficient shooting night. He finished 4-for-14 overall, 2-for-8 from 3-point range and 0-for-2 at the free throw line.

• Free throw woes: This is always kind of nit-picky, and, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that Self doesn’t really harp on free throws. But, still, when you’re trying to get back on track away from home, you certainly would like to shoot better than 50% at the free throw line. The Jayhawks were 9-for-18 there on Saturday and made this one a little harder than it needed to be.

• Elmarko’s quiet night: This was hardly a surprise given the way things have gone the past several weeks, but, still, for a player who once was an automatic starter for a top-5 team, Jackson’s near disappearance is the farthest thing from what Kansas needs and wants to see as it continues to search for some kind of help from the bench. Jackson played just 4 minutes in this one and did not record any stats besides a turnover and a foul.

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