‘Marksman’ Charlie Moore provides spark as No. 1 KU stops South Dakota
Lawson, McCormack discuss big night for KU’s bench
Charlie Moore had not shown the ability to score in bunches during his first nine games at Kansas.
That all changed on Tuesday night as the sophomore transfer from Cal hit six three-pointers in nine tries and scored 18 points in the No. 1-ranked Jayhawks’ 89-53 victory over South Dakota of the Summit League at Allen Fieldhouse.
“We see it every day in practice. That didn’t surprise us at all, him knocking down shots,” KU coach Bill Self said of the 5-foot-11 Chicago native, who despite impressing teammates and coaches in daily workouts entered Tuesday’s contest 3 of 22 from beyond the arc.
His high in a game at KU before Tuesday was nine points against Tennessee on Nov. 23 in New York.
“This is what we thought all along, that he was going to be our marksman off the bench so to speak,” Self said, “and give us some offense off the bench. It hadn’t happened yet, but tonight it did. Hopefully it’ll give him some confidence moving forward shooting the ball. He and Lagerald (Vick, 12 points, 2 of 3 from three) can shoot it at a different level than everybody else can.”
Moore — he hit one three and scored three points the first half in helping KU to a 37-27 halftime advantage, then five threes the final half — set a career high in threes. His previous best at Cal was five against Colorado. He once scored 38 points for the Golden Bears against UC Irvine.
“Opportunity was probably the biggest thing,” Self said of the reason Moore produced offensively on Tuesday. He played 21 minutes. “We told them before the game the way they (Coyotes) play defense, they make you score over the top. We thought we could get some shots, we just had to knock them down.”
Moore, who also had four assists and two steals, credited “confidence” for his improved shooting.
“When I got the ball (in first nine games) I would hesitate,” Moore said. “My teammates were telling me to shoot the ball. They gave me confidence to do so. I think that helped me out a lot.”
He said he kept the faith despite opening the season with 19 three-point misses in 22 tries.
“I tried to go to practice every day with the same mindset, give 110 percent effort and try to get better as a player and team,” Moore said. “I kept doing that. I know those are shots I can make. I know those are shots I normally make. I just had to stay in the gym and keep working. Tonight was the night.”
KU junior Dedric Lawson, a Memphis transfer who played on the scout team last year with Moore, said Moore’s threes will be vital as the season progresses.
“That’s something we’re going to need, especially when Udoka (Azubuike, KU’s center who missed last three games with sprained ankle) gets here. It’s going to be easier for him to make shots,” Lawson said. “Guys are going to be sitting down on Udoka … kick it out and make shots. That makes our team a little more dangerous and a little more hard to guard.”
Lawson, who contributed 16 points and 14 rebounds on a night freshman forward David McCormack scored 12 points and grabbed six boards, said KU coach Self spoke to Moore in the locker room after the contest.
“He said he’s 9-for-30: ‘You’re getting better,’’’ Lawson said with a laugh.
Moore had a hand in one of McCormack’s highlights. He threw a lob higher than the top of the backboard, McCormack retrieving then dribbling and slamming it for a late bucket.
“He got fouled on that last one I know. He threw that one to Wilt,” Lawson joked. “But he’s definitely a pretty good lob-thrower when he gets downhill and gets in the paint. He does a good job of finding bigs.
“That’s the type of player he is. He’s got that type of creativity when he gets going, and he’s got that type of playmaking ability when he’s comfortable. It’s all about being comfortable out there and having that confidence.”
Moore, who has 15 assists and seven turnovers this season after his four assist/one turnover night, said of the lob to McCormack: “I thought I got smacked on my arm. It went out of control. David went up and got it. It was a good play.”
KU, which hit 51.5 percent of its shots (9 of 23 threes) to South Dakota’s 37.9 percent (3 of 13 from three) improved to 10-0. The Coyotes, who were led by guard Stanley Umude’s 28 points, fell to 6-6. KU junior Mitch Lightfoot had seven important points the first half, when the Jayhawks were struggling offensively, while Devon Dotson finished with eight points, six assists and Marcus Garrett added seven points, five assists, five rebounds.
KU will next meet Arizona State at 8 p.m. Central time Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.
Notes: Walk-on Chris Teahan did not suit up for the second straight game. Self said he has a back injury and would be resting it this week. … KU is now 1-0 all-time versus South Dakota. The Jayhawks are 19-5 all-time against current members of the Summit League. … KU is 10-0 for the first time since the 2010-11 team opened the season 18-0. A 10-0 record is the fifth in Self’s 16 seasons at KU (14-0 in 2004-05, 20-0 in 2007-08, 14-0 in 2009-10 and 18-0 in 2010-11). … KU has won 10 straight games for the 16th time in the Self era. It’s the longest streak since 2016-17 when KU won 18-straight from Nov. 15, 2016 to Jan. 21, 2017. … KU is now 48-3 in Allen when it is No. 1 team in the AP poll, including a 22-0 mark under Bill Self. KU has won 40 in a row in Allen when ranked No. 1 dating to the 1994-95 season. Last loss was to Kansas State, 68-64, on Jan. 17, 1994.
Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.
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