Recap: Kansas men's basketball survives Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State

·8 min read

LAWRENCE — Kansas men's basketball's 2021-22 regular season continued Tuesday with a Big 12 Conference road test against Oklahoma State.

The Jayhawks came in off of a win this past weekend at home against George Mason. The Cowboys came in off of a loss back on Dec. 18 away from home against Houston. This represented the first Big 12 game of the season for each side.

Did Kansas head coach Bill Self see his team handle its first conference matchup well? Did Oklahoma State benefit from Bryce Thompson going against his former team? Did David McCormack rebound with a noteworthy performance for the Jayhawks?

More: ‘Christian Braun’s a pro’: With Big 12 play looming, this Kansas basketball star has more chances to impress

Here's what happened, with the latest news first, at Gallagher-Iba Arena:

FINAL: Kansas 74, Oklahoma State 63

Kansas leads 72-57 against Oklahoma State with 3:35 left in 2nd half

The Jayhawks are on a 9-0 run, and leading by 15 points with about three and a half minutes left. Remy Martin has had a couple recent baskets, and is up to seven points to go along with three assists and a couple rebounds so far. Martin's three turnovers are a part of a 12-turnover total for Kansas so far that's more than Oklahoma State's eight, but the Jayhawks have scored 16 points off of turnovers while the Cowboys have only nine.

Second chance points still favor Oklahoma State, though. It has 16 while Kansas has 10, with the Cowboys at 14 offensive rebounds and the Jayhawks 16.

Kansas leads 63-55 against Oklahoma State with 6:47 left in 2nd half

David McCormack is having himself one heck of a night now, as he's up to 15 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas. And the Jayhawks are up eight points with a little less than seven minutes remaining.

There have been multiple times, after made baskets, that McCormack has seemed to yell in celebration toward his own bench or the people behind the bench. It's unclear exactly who, but either could be plausible.

Ochai Agbaji still leads Kansas and all scorers with 16 points. However, he's just 5-for-13 from the field.

Kansas leads 53-43 against Oklahoma State with 11:21 left in 2nd half

The Jayhawks are in control, up 10 points with a little less than 11 and a half minutes left. A 7-0 run across the last minute and a half doesn't hurt. And making all six of their last six field goal attempts doesn't hurt either.

David McCormack is quietly a bucket away from a double-double, as he has eight points and 12 rebounds. He's one of a number of Kansas players who've had moments of brilliance, but moments seemingly of sheer confusion and poor play as well.

Ochai Agbaji is up to three fouls and has been on the bench for an extended time in the second half. However, it hasn't seemed to affect things much for the Jayhawks, who have still only played eight guys to this point.

Oklahoma State leads 40-38 against Kansas with 15:25 left in 2nd half

The Jayhawks are trailing about four and a half minutes into the second half by two points, as the Cowboys hold a slim lead of 40-38 with 15:25 left. Neither Mitch Lightfoot nor David McCormack have done especially well in the limited time they've each had for Kansas so far since the break. And Remy Martin has been up and down for the Jayhawks as well.

Oklahoma State may not have a sellout crowd inside this arena, but with those fans behind the Cowboys the momentum is not on Kansas' side. If the Jayhawks aren't careful, they could slip out of this one in no time. Self seems frustrated possession after possession with what's occurring in front of him.

The Jayhawks are 4-for-5 from the field in the second half to this point, but have four turnovers. The Cowboys are 3-for-7 from the field with only one

HALFTIME: Kansas 29, Oklahoma State 29

The Jayhawks have missed 19 shots in a row and not scored in nine and a half minutes. The Cowboys were able to go on a 14-0 run to tie things up. Kansas still has not trailed, and Oklahoma State has not led.

Kansas leads 29-22 against Oklahoma State with 3:46 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks' scoring drought has extended to about five and a half minutes at this point. Overall for the game, Kansas is 11-for-33 from the field and 3-for-10 from behind the arc. Self has watched his team miss its last 12 shots, with one possession going so poorly that McCormack had to throw up a 3-pointer that didn't hit the mark.

It's a drought that's allowed Oklahoma State to go on a 7-0 run. Isaac Likekele is up to eight points for the Cowboys. He's 4-for-8 from the field with eight rebounds as well.

Kansas leads 29-20 against Oklahoma State with 5:31 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks have missed their last nine shots from the field. They've gone 2-for-12 in their last dozen attempts. They haven't scored in more than three and a half minutes. But Self's squad is still leading 29-20 with 5:31 left before halftime.

It's a nine-point lead that comes in large part because of what Kansas has been able to do defensively. So far, Oklahoma State is 9-for-30 from the field and 2-for-7 from behind the arc, with five turnovers to go along with those totals. If the Jayhawks could do a better job on the defensive glass, they'd likely be leading by double digits.

Kansas leads 18-13 against Oklahoma State with 11:57 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks have a five-point lead with a little less than 12 minutes left in the first half. David McCormack entered the game for Kansas alongside Jalen Wilson with 14:18 left in the first half. McCormack had a great feed to Ochai Agbaji for a bucket early, but since has had at least a play each on both ends of the floor where he's struggled.

At one point, McCormack had a ball stolen from him on offense. At one point, McCormack was called for goaltending on defense.

Agbaji leads the Jayhawks with 11 early points. He has a couple 3s and three made free throws as well. Outside of a turnover and questionable foul, he's been the best player on the floor so far.

Kansas and Oklahoma State are tied 9-9 with 15:47 left in 1st half

While Mitch Lightfoot's first night in the starting lineup for the Jayhawks started off well, and he got a dunk along the way to four early points, he's also allowed two relatively easy baskets since beginning the game as he did. Kansas and Oklahoma State are tied at 9-9 with a bit more than four minutes played so far. Dajuan Harris Jr. already has a couple of assists for the Jayhawks, while the Cowboys have a couple early turnovers.

David McCormack hasn't sulked on the bench by any means. When Lightfoot has made quality plays, McCormack has been one of the guys who's gotten on his feet and cheered Lightfoot on. If McCormack is upset for not starting, he doesn't seem to be letting that affect how good of a teammate he can be.

Something to watch, though, is Oklahoma State having six offensive rebounds and nine second chance points.

It begins

Bill Self appears on Kansas' pregame show

Self reiterated some things that he's been saying for some time, when he talked about the strength of the Big 12 and the importance of David McCormack. Self thinks because of how good the Big 12 is, that Kansas will need to take advantage of the games at home and try to win as many as it can on the road. Self thinks that Kansas won't reach the level as the team that it can if McCormack isn't one of its key players.

Self also provided an update on Remy Martin, who missed the Jayhawks' last game due to a knee injury. Self said that Martin is fine, and just may be a little sore.

Here's who's set to start

Here's who's present during warmups for Kansas

Soon, basketball

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas men's basketball wins Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State