LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — It took the end of a record 231 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 for Kansas to play like a ranked team again.
After falling out of the poll for the first time since February 2009 earlier in the day, the Jayhawks leaned on big man David McCormack and a defense that forced No. 23 Oklahoma State into 19 turnovers to roll to a 78-66 victory Monday night. McCormack had all but two of his 23 points after halftime to go with 10 rebounds.
The Jayhawks forced Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham into committing seven turnovers while committing four fouls, and the Cowboys finished with 18 turnovers as a team in a haphazard effort on both ends of the floor. Cunningham finished with 26 points but was just 7 of 18 from the field, and fellow freshman Avery Anderson III had 13 points but also committed four turnovers, as the Cowboys allowed a 28-25 game at the break to get away from them.
Early on, the Jayhawks looked like a team deserving of their ranking — or lack thereof — when they missed 13 of their first 15 field-goal attempts and had as many turnovers (five) as points through the first eight minutes of the game. Somehow they manage to scratch out that meager halftime lead. That’s because the Cowboys were even worse on offense. Cunningham had four of their 12 first-half turnovers, they went 1 of 8 from beyond the arc and failed to score a single second-chance point despite hanging tough on the boards.