David McCormack was to thank for Kansas basketball’s first-round win over the Eastern Washington Eagles.
Fans of the Kansas Jayhawks knew that this first-round would be different than previous year’s. First and foremost, this KU team isn’t the same that fans are used to watching during the regular season.
This group actually fell out of the top 25 rankings at one point and really struggled with consistency. Having to bow out of the Big 12 Tournament due to positive COVID-19 tests didn’t seem like a good sign ahead of the big dance either.
Secondly, Eastern Washington was their opponent and this was a team who deserved to be higher than a No. 14 seed. The Eagles played their hearts out and gave KU everything they could.
The Jayhawks weren’t sure what to really expect from forward David McCormack heading into their first game of the tournament, as he had tested positive for COVID-19 and hadn’t played in a game since March 4.
Well, McCormack went out there and kicked butt for the Jayhawks, scoring a team-high 22 points while nabbing nine rebounds in 25 minutes. He went 9-of-15 and knocked down 4-of-5 free throws. What McCormack provided from the bench was exactly the spark this KU team needed, especially against a scrappy team like Eastern Washington.
Kansas basketball was fortunate to have David McCormack available off the bench.
Considering McCormack had COVID at the beginning of the month and was able to provide the kind of play he did for the Jayhawks was amazing. It didn’t feel like he’d really be utilized much in this game, but with the Jayhawks also missing two other players (Jalen Wilson and Tristan Enaruna), the more players available to chip in, the better.
This wasn’t an easy win for Kansas by any means (the team had no answer for Tanner Groves, who had 35 points on the afternoon. If the Eagles had edged out the Jayhawks, Groves would have been the reason as to why, just as McCormack was the reason for KU coming out on top. Hopefully, Kansas can get a similar performance from their forward in the next game.
With their 93-84 win over the Eagles, KU now heads to the Round of 32 and will prepare for what should be a tough match-up against No. 6 USC. This is a much different KU team than what fans are used to but they showed they can persevere even in the most uncertain times. This is the perfect time to get hot for Kansas.