🏀 No. 7 Kansas Beats Cincinnati 74-69 on ESPN Big Monday
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Johnny Furphy sent his parents back home to Australia with quite the lasting impression of their son in Allen Fieldhouse as the freshman helped No. 7 Kansas to a 74-69 win over Cincinnati on Monday night.
The freshman guard had career-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds, and drained a key three-pointer down the stretch.
Kevin McCullar Jr. added 20 points despite struggling with his shot, KJ Adams Jr. had 11 points and Hunter Dickinson overcame some foul trouble to score 10 for the Jayhawks (16-3, 4-2), who bounced back nicely from a road loss at West Virginia.
“This was their first home game,” Furphy said of his parents, “so I was happy they could experience that. I’ve been telling them a lot about Allen Fieldhouse. I’m happy they got to see a win.”
The cold-shooting Bearcats (13-6, 2-4), wrapping up a stretch of six straight against ranked teams, got within 64-57 when Day Day Thomas ended their six-plus minute field-goal drought with just over two and a half minutes to play. But at the other end, Furphy hit his three-pointer from the wing as the shot clock expired, and the Jayhawks were able to hang on from there.
“You had some good looks, some blown possessions, and you’re still right there. That’s the hard part to swallow,” said Cincinnati coach Wes Miller, whose team had 16 turnovers and went 3-for-18 from the three-point arc.
Dan Skillings Jr. led the Bearcats with 16 points. Leading scorer Viktor Lakhin was held to seven on 1-for-6 shooting.
The Bearcats and Jayhawks were meeting for the first time since a top-five showdown in 1996, and they were playing at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since 1967, when Kansas exacted a bit of revenge for a home loss five years earlier.
Like so many teams unaccustomed to the Phog, Cincinnati was rattled in the opening minutes. Kansas sprinted out to a 12-point lead and Wade was forced to call timeout to keep the game from getting away from his Bearcats.
Cincinnati slowly drew even, though, and briefly took the lead before going to halftime 35-all.
“We have a resilient bunch,” Miller said. “We don’t pout. We don’t put our heads down.”
McCullar continued to struggle from the field, where he finished 5-for-17, and Dickinson had to sit long stretches after picking up his fourth foul with more than 10 minutes to go. But the Bearcats continued to be bitterly cold from the three-point arc, where Simas Lukosius was 0-for-6 and nobody else was a whole lot better, and that prevented them from ever taking control.
That came back to haunt Cincinnati when the Jayhawks pulled away in the closing minutes.
“They got a goose egg other than Skillings shooting the ball from the arc, and those were all in the first half,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “We were probably lucky on some of them, but we did a decent job defensively, and that was a big part of the game.”
Kansas retired the No. 33 jersey of Bill “Skinny” Johnson during a halftime ceremony. He was an All-American in 1933 under coach Phog Allen, and led the Jayhawks to three consecutive conference titles. Johnson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977, three years before his death.
Cincinnati plays UCF on Saturday night.
Kansas visits No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday.