🏀 No. 9 Jayhawks Roll Over Pirates in Big 12-BIG EAST Battle
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kevin McCullar Jr. returned from an injury to score 17 points and grab 10 rebounds, Jalen Wilson added 15 points and 13 boards, and ninth-ranked Kansas rolled to a 91-65 victory over Seton Hall on Thursday night in the Big East-Big 12 Battle at Allen Fieldhouse.
KJ Adams had 11 points, DaJuan Harris Jr. had 10 with seven assists and Ernest Udeh Jr. also scored 10 for the Jayhawks (8-1), who now have more than a week off before visiting bitter rival Missouri for the first time in a decade next Saturday.
The Jayhawks romped past the Tigers 102-65 last year, when they resumed their series after a nine-year hiatus following Missouri’s departure for the SEC. Kansas has not faced them on the road since losing on Feb. 4, 2012.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be rested before we play Mizzou,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said, “and there’s some things we definitely need to work on. Hopefully we’ll be better equipped when we go over there.”
Kadary Richmond had 17 points, but also turned the ball over seven times for the Pirates (4-4), who were just 4 of 19 from the 3-point arc in losing their third straight game. Tyrese Samuel added with 16 points.
The teams were meeting for just the third time and first since 2018, when the Jayhawks edged Seton Hall in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They went on to play for the national championship this year.
Now the defending champs, Kansas built a big first-half lead against the Pirates on Thursday night. But rather than going on one of their familiar runs to take control of the game, the Jayhawks methodically extended their advantage over the first 20 minutes, taking advantage of their speed on the perimeter to get easy baskets at the rim.
Meanwhile, Seton Hall couldn’t make a shot.
The Pirates missed their first eight from beyond the arc, went 19 of 32 from the foul line and rarely got anything to go that wasn’t at the basket. And that made digging out of their halftime hole seemingly impossible.
By the time KC Ndefo curled in their first 3, the Jayhawks had extended their lead to 50-31 with 14 1/2 minutes to go.
The poor shooting, coupled with turnover problems, proved too much for Seton Hall to overcome.
Kansas had 15 steals in the win, which is the most by the Jayhawks since Nov. 11, 2011 when the team also had 15 steals against Towson. The Jayhawks also finished with six players in double figures for the first time since 2019 against Towson.
Seton Hall was similarly poor from beyond the arc in losses to Iowa, Oklahoma and Siena, when the Pirates were 1 of 9 from the 3-point line in a 65-60 defeat their last time out. They were 20 of 32 from the foul line in that game.
Kansas forced the Pirates into 16 turnovers while committing 11 of their own, and they had a big edge on the boards, which meant the Jayhawks simply had more opportunities on the offensive end. They took advantage of them, too.
Kansas has the week off playing at HyVee Hoops Border Showdown foe Missouri on Dec. 10.