Sooners too much for Jayhawks in Norman, 81-68

NORMAN, Okla. – A torrid first half of shooting by the Sooners paired a flat offensive night for the Jayhawks saw Oklahoma claim an 81-68 victory over No. 13/14 Kansas Tuesday night inside Lloyd Noble Center. Redshirt-junior forward Dedric Lawson and freshman forward David McCormack each scored 18 points, with Lawson tallying his 19th double-double of the season; however, the Sooners got 20-point efforts from junior Kristian Doolittle and sophomore Brady Manek to help OU claim its largest win over the Jayhawks since 1990.

The loss, which brought KU’s chances of a 15th-straight regular-season conference title to an end, dropped the Jayhawks to 22-8 on the year and 11-6 in league play. Oklahoma moved to 19-11 in 2018-19 and 7-10 in the Big 12.

The Sooners couldn’t seem to miss over the opening five minutes of the game. Oklahoma connected on seven of its first eight tries from the field, which included 4-of-5 from 3-point range. This torrid early shooting saw the home team sprint out to an 18-7 lead before five minutes could tick off the clock. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks struggled on the offensive end. KU managed just three field goals over the opening nine minutes of game action, which helped OU’s lead extend to 17 points, 26-9, still with 10:53 to play in the first frame.

Devon Dotson found David McCormack with an alley-oop to kick start a quick 9-0 spurt that cut into the OU deficit. Quentin Grimes hit his lone 3-pointer on the night during that run as the KU deficit shrunk to 26-18 at the eight-minute mark.

The Sooner offense hit its stride once again minutes later though, extending its lead to 18 points with a 10-0 run. The two teams then traded baskets over the waning minutes of the half, before Kansas ended the first 20 minutes of play on a 6-0 run and headed to the locker room in a 13-point hole, 41-28.

If KU had any hopes of staging a second-half comeback, Oklahoma quickly stomped out those out in the early minutes after the restart, largely through its prowess from the charity stripe. The Sooners hit 10-of-11 from the free throw line in the first seven minutes of the second half, helping push their lead to over 20 points. Reshard Odomes’ free throw with 13:41 to play saw OU’s edge extend to 62-39.

Lawson stopped the bleeding momentarily as the KU forward connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to help his team get back to within 17 points, but once again the KU momentum was snuffed out. A 9-3 Oklahoma run put a final end to the Jayhawks’ hopes at a comeback and saw the Sooners’ lead move to its largest of the game at 24 points.

Despite the large deficit, Kansas fought to the final buzzer and closed the game on a 13-2 run, with McCormack adding seven points during that stretch. But it wasn’t enough as the Sooners cruised to the 81-68 win.

Lawson led the Jayhawks in scoring for the fifth-straight game, tallying 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds for his 19th double-double on the year. McCormack went 8-of-11 from the field to tally a career-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds. Agbaji was the next Jayhawk on the scoresheet with nine points.

KU closed the night hitting just 22.6 percent (7-of-31) from 3-point range, the Jayhawks’ worst shooting night from deep since Jan. 2.