Kansas basketball: Jayhawks weather Red Storm in New York

Less than one week ago, the Kansas Jayhawks were put on their heels as their opponent made a massive comeback. Fast forward to last night and KU found themselves in the same situation as St. John’s pulled to within three points.

The difference, however, is that the Jayhawks regained their stability to end up with a 20-point victory in a contest that was closer than the final score indicated for a portion of the game.

In a previous loss to Dayton, KU folded and allowed a 24-6 run before ultimately losing by one point on a fortunate buzzer beater.

The loss against Dayton left questions about whether KU would be able to withstand a flurry by their opponent and show some toughness when the going got tough.

St. John’s got off to an incredibly hot start in the second half as they came out to hit five three-pointers within the first six minutes of the half, mostly thanks to junior guard Julian Champagnie.

Jayhawks David McCormack and Ochai Agbaji said the difference between their only loss this season and this game was that they all understand that basketball is a game of runs, and can focus better on how to stop the other team’s run.

 “Today we knew how to handle that, how to keep playing our game and how to focus on defense more than anything,” Agbaji told KUsports.com. 

The Jayhawks’ effort was led by Christian Braun’s career-high 31 points. He was aggressive in all aspects of the game as he shined bright on defense and even brighter on offense. He finished with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, all while displaying his confidence and energy.

Braun was joined by another strong showing from Agbaji and an encouraging performance from McCormack.

Coach Bill Self had expressed his concerns during KU’s time in Orlando about McCormack’s play thus far. After ending the 2020-2021 season hot, McCormack has yet to display that level of basketball this season.

Could this be a turning point for him? He finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds and looked more comfortable in the paint than he has at any point this season.

The Jayhawks’ victory was full of strong individual performances and a good team effort to rally when they had to, which certainly left KU faithful feeling more confident that KU is slowly figuring it out.