Kansas’ David McCormack delivers in Battle of the Bigs

NEW ORLEANS – David McCormack and his Kansas teammates were 15 points behind at halftime of the National Championship game, but he laughed the same.

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

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

Christian Braun did not necessarily buy it.

“He looked at me, and I was like, ‘Why are you laughing, Dude?'” He said after the game. “‘We are down 15.’ He told me, like, keep your head up, keep going, we’ll be fine. I was like, “Man, I do not know if I’ve ever been here.”

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

Kansas has made the biggest comeback in championship history to capture the program’s fourth NCAA Championship, its first since 2008 and second under coach Bill Self.

“We are overcoming our opportunities, we are overcoming adversity, we were built for this,” McCormack said in a television interview.

Kansas would most likely not have won the title without McCormack taking over in the paint on the track. With North Carolina leading 69-68, he shot at a second-chance floater in the backcourt to put the Jayhawks at 70-69. Following a North Carolina turnover, he picked up a post feed from Jalen Wilson and made a turnaround over two Tar Heels defenders in the lane to move Kansas ahead of the contest by 22 seconds.

“The game is on the line,” McCormack said. “You’re pumping adrenaline. You have a wish you’ll get it. Snatch a rebound with both hands. The coach talks about keeping the ball high and going straight back up. That’s what went through my head. I’m here , we work on touch shots every day.

When North Carolina guard 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 went up as confetti started to rain.

“We had some really good possession late, we posted CB a few times and everyone contributed, everyone played well, but when we needed a basket, we went to the big Dave and he delivered,” said Self and a TV interview.

It was the third straight NCAA tournament game in which McCormack shot in double figures. He went for 15 points and 4 rebounds in the 8th round against Miami in Chicago, and then dominated Villanova’s lead with 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, the Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Armando Bacot from North Carolina and Ochai Agbaji, his Kansas teammate, who was also named as the top player of the Final Four after a Finished Monday with 12 points and 3 rebounds. .

Entering the game, the battle between McCormack and the 6-foot-9 Bacot was seen as a critical matchup.

Bacot injured his right ankle in the national semi-final against Duke on Saturday and appears to have left early on Monday, but he played a superb game en route to a double-double, with 15 points and 15 rebounds, in a single season. balanced. Record with his 31st of the season. He was an important factor as the Tar Heels had a 40-25 halftime lead.

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

“I think the last 24 hours, possibly 15 of them, I was just trying to get my ankles better,” said Bacot, adding that Doug Halverson, the athlete’s coach, and his staff “have done a great job for prepare me for this. Wait. “

He continued: “Right before the game I really could not even jump. And then I somehow went back. We just kept trying to take a crack. They did not give up. Luckily I was able to play 38 minutes.

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

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