Kansas' David McCormack delivers in Battle of Bigs

NEW ORLEANS — David McCormack and his Kansas teammates trailed 15 points at halftime in the national championship game, but he was still...

NEW ORLEANS — David McCormack and his Kansas teammates trailed 15 points at halftime in the national championship game, but he was still smiling.

“They thought I was crazy,” McCormack said in a TV interview.

He told his teammates: “Just come here, have fun and do what we were born to do.”

Christian Braun didn’t necessarily agree.

“He was looking at me and I was like, ‘Why are you smiling, man?'” he said after the game. “‘We’re down 15 years.’ He was like, keep your head up, keep going, you’ll be fine. I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I’ve been here before.'”

McCormack came out and scored 9 points in the second half, including the last 4 of the Jayhawks’ game, as Kansas overcame a 16-point deficit to beat North Carolina, 72-69, to win the championship. NCAA men’s basketball Monday night at the Superdome. . McCormack, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward, finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds after scoring 6 points and 3 rebounds at halftime.

Kansas pulled off the biggest comeback in championship game history to win the program’s fourth NCAA championship, its first since 2008 and the second under coach Bill Self.

“We overcome our odds, we overcome adversity, we were built for this,” McCormack said in a TV interview.

Kansas probably wouldn’t have won the title without McCormack taking over in the paint in stride. With North Carolina leading 69-68, he scored on a second-chance floater in the lane to put the Jayhawks up, 70-69. After a turnover in North Carolina, he grabbed a post from Jalen Wilson and flipped over two Tar Heels defenders in the lane to advance Kansas by the winning margin with 22 seconds left.

“The game is on the line,” McCormack said. “You have an adrenaline rush. You have a desire, you will get it. Catch a rebound with two hands. The coach talks about keeping the ball high and coming up straight away. That’s what was going through my head. I’m right here, we work every day on tactile plans.

When North Carolina goaltender Caleb Love missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds, the Jayhawks and their fans began to celebrate. The noise level in the dome increased as confetti began to rain.

“We had some really good late possessions, we posted CB a couple of times and everyone contributed, everyone played well, but when we had to get a basket we went to the big Dave and he delivered “Self said in a TV interview.

It was the third straight NCAA Tournament game in which McCormack scored in double figures. He went for 15 points and 4 rebounds in the round of 16 against Miami in Chicago, then dominated Villanova’s frontcourt to the tune of 25 points and 9 rebounds in the national semifinals on Saturday in New Orleans.

McCormack was named to the All-Tournament Team along with Love, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and Kansas teammate Ochai Agbaji, who was also named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player after finished with 12 points and 3 rebounds on Monday. .

Going into the game, the battle between McCormack and the 6-foot-9 Bacot was considered a critical game.

Bacot injured his right ankle in the national semifinal against Duke on Saturday and seemed to be treading cautiously early Monday, but he played a magnificent game on the way to a double-double, with 15 points and 15 rebounds, equaling a single season. record with his 31st of the season. He was a major factor as the Tar Heels took a 40-25 halftime lead.

But Bacot only managed 3 points and 5 rebounds in the second half and came out late after injuring his ankle.

“I mean, the last 24 hours, probably 15 of them, I was just trying to improve my ankle,” Bacot said, adding that head athletic trainer Doug Halverson and his team “did great job preparing me for this.” moment.”

He continued: “Right before the game, I couldn’t even jump. And then that’s why I kind of went back. We just kept trying to give it a shot. They didn’t give up. Fortunately, I was able to play 38 minutes.

In the end, McCormack defeated Bacot and celebrated with a championship.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Kansas' David McCormack delivers in Battle of Bigs
Kansas' David McCormack delivers in Battle of Bigs
Newsrust - US Top News
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