🏀 Jayhawks Roll in Puerto Rico Debut
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico – Behind 20 points from sophomore guard Arterio Morris and 19 points from junior KJ Adams Jr., Kansas men’s basketball rolled to a 106-71 win against a Puerto Rico Select team Thursday in an exhibition game at Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum.
A crowd of 3,174 saw Kansas score the first seven points of the contest and never look back, dominating the first quarter 25-7 in the FIBA rules game. Senior center Hunter Dickinson and freshman Elmarko Jackson each scored 13 points with Jackson and Morris leading KU making three 3-point field goals in the victory. Morris also had five assists and two steals for Kansas.
KU redshirt junior Dajuan Harris Jr., led all players with nine assists and four steals to go along with nine points. Kevin McCullar Jr. paced KU with seven rebounds and also scored nine points. Six of guard Nicolas Timberlake’s eight points were from beyond the arc and the graduate transfer also had three steals, while junior Zach Clemence made two threes and scored eight points.
KU dominated the game forcing 24 turnovers and converting those into 34 points. KU outscored Puerto Rico 48-24 in points in the paint, 35-14 on fast break points and 55-27 in bench points.
“I actually thought we played pretty well, obviously early,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “We got out and they couldn’t get a shot off. We haven’t really worked on a lot of things defensively, but we’ve done some things offensively and I thought we shared the ball for the most part.”
Adams and Morris scored 12 of Kansas’ first 14 points of the contest with each hitting a three pointer, putting Kansas up 14-2 six minutes into the contest. Kansas took its largest lead of the half, 27-7, in the second quarter on an Adams alley-oop from Harris to open the period.
“I’m really glad because I’m going to have the same freedom I did last year, just in a different position because everyone’s going be focused on Hunter,” said Adams who started at the center position in 2022-23 and has moved to the power forward spot. “It lets me cut when I need to and just pass whenever I have to.”
Nine of the 10 Kansas players scored in the opening half led by Morris with 13 points and Adams with 12. McCullar added nine points, while Harris led KU with three steals and four assists. KU led 54-34 at intermission.
Kansas continued to wear out its opponent and built a 69-44 lead on a Clemence three-pointer with 4:20 left in the third quarter. Two minutes later Jackson made his second three of the game to put KU up 78-51.
The final quarter saw the Jayhawks continue their fast pace scoring on dunks, alley-oops and lay-ins as KU led 102-68 before Self cleared the bench for the final two minutes of the game.
Kansas will practice Friday in preparation for two more exhibition games against the Bahamian National Team. The first contest will be at 4 p.m. (Central) on Saturday, August 5, and the final game of the trip will be on Monday, August 7, at 11 a.m. (Central). Both games will be played at Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum.