The Kansas Jayhawks picked up their second win in a row Saturday afternoon, making light work of the Oklahoma Sooners to the tune of a 78-55 road victory.
KU started slowly in Norman, but hit its stride just past the midway point of the first half. The Jayhawks claimed their first lead of the game at the 6:44 mark of the first half, then after a quick response from the Sooners they reclaimed it for good just 1:24 later.
Kansas finished the first half on a 16-2 run to go up by 13 at the break, and its onslaught continued relentlessly after halftime.
Four Jayhawks scored in double figures in the win, led by 18 points from junior forward Jalen Wilson. The likely All-American stuffed the stat sheet against the Sooners, also tacking on five rebounds, five assists and five steals. It was a return to normalcy for Wilson, who had a season-low two points in KU’s win over the Texas Longhorns earlier this week.
“For a guy that’s averaging 20 [points per game], you don’t think he needs to see the ball go in the basket, but he did, and I could tell,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He was much better today.”
Junior forward Dajuan Harris was KU’s second-leading scorer with 16 points in the win, his second consecutive game with at least that many points. Senior guard Kevin McCullar and sophomore forward K.J. Adams tacked on 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Jayhawks got another strong performance from their bench against the Sooners, too, this time led by freshman center Ernest Udeh Jr. The backup big man scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the win, less than a week after junior guard Joseph Yesufu poured in 14 points off the bench in the win over Texas.
“Even throughout the season when I wasn’t playing in stretches like that, it’s easy to say ‘Make sure you keep your head in the game, stay ready,’ and that’s exactly what I did,” Udeh said. “I played well, had a good game and y’all saw the outcome of it, so I’d say my confidence is pretty good right now.”
Udeh also set a new career high in minutes played with 17. He wasn’t the only reserve frontcourt player to see the floor for the Jayhawks, with freshman forward Zuby Ejiofor checking in during garbage time. His two minutes were the first time he’d seen the floor since injuring his foot in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats back on Jan. 28.
Kansas shot 55% for the game and made 5-of-10 tries from three-point range. That marks the second game in a row KU has attempted just 10 threes. Oklahoma was held to 35.7% shooting and just 23.5% from deep. Senior forward Jalen Hill was OU’s top scorer, pouring in 14 points in the losing effort.
Saturday’s game flipped the script from the last time Kansas had an early tip off. Last Saturday in Ames, the Iowa State Cyclones rolled over KU 68-53 in a game that started at 11:00 a.m. Self emphasized the need for more team energy after that loss, and the Jayhawks have parlayed that postgame message into consecutive high-energy wins.
The win was also crucial one for the Big 12 race. KU needed the victory to keep pace in the standings after Texas blew out the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday 94-60. Those two teams will face again in their season finale on March 4.
Next up for the Jayhawks is the second leg of their Oklahoma road trip on Tuesday against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. That matchup is set for an 8:00 p.m. tip.
For more reaction to the Kansas Jayhawks’ 78-55 win over the Oklahoma Sooners, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3:00 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-6:00 p.m. Monday on 580 WIBW.