HONOLULU (AP) — Hunter Dickinson scored 17 points and grabbed 20 rebounds and No. 1 Kansas pulled away for a 69-60 win over No. 7 Tennessee on Wednesday.
The Jayhawks (5-1) bounced back from a 14-point loss a day earlier to take third place in the Maui Invitational over the Volunteers (4-2), who have dropped their last two games.
“It was a great win for us today,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We struggled last night obviously and to bounce back in 13 hours to play a team as good as Tennessee and to hang in there under some fairly adverse conditions for some of our players, it was just a terrific thing and one that we’ll look back on in February and be very thankful for.”
Kevin McCullar Jr. had 14 points, KJ Adams Jr. added 13 and Dajuan Harris Jr. chipped in eight assists for Kansas, which led by as many as 11 in the closing minutes.
Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie it at 49 with 12:44 to play, but Kansas answered with back-to-back buckets from Dickinson to pull ahead for good.
The Volunteers led by as many as seven in the first half.
Vescovi made five 3-pointers and finished with 21 points. Dalton Knecht and Jordan Gainey contributed 13 apiece and Jonas Aidoo had 11 rebounds.
“Give Kansas credit, I thought they played extremely well,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “I thought their key guys did exactly what you’d expect them to do night in and night out.”
The score was tied at 35 at halftime.
It was the fifth meeting between the teams in the last six seasons. Tennessee had won the last two meetings, but Kansas still leads the all-time series, 5-3.
The game was a rematch of the Battle 4 Atlantis championship a year ago. Tennessee won that game 64-50.
Tennessee was playing back-to-back games against top-three teams for the first time in program history. It hung tough with No. 2 Purdue on Tuesday but faded down the stretch and came up short, 71-67.
Kansas took the court at the Stan Sheriff Center about 12 hours after it was routed by No. 4 Marquette 73-59 in the tournament semifinals Tuesday.
With his team ahead 26-25 with five-plus minutes left in the first half, Dalton Knecht threw down a ferocious two-handed dunk off a well-placed inbounds pass from Zakai Zeigler to give Tennessee a three-point lead.
Self was assessed a technical foul at the eight-minute mark of the first half. Self already was unhappy with a non-call after he felt his player was fouled and one possession later saw McCullar whistled for an offensive foul. As the teams went to their benches for the media timeout, Self exchanged words with an official, who responded with a tech against the longtime Jayhawks coach. It was Self’s second technical foul in as many days.
Tennessee will visit North Carolina next Wednesday as part of the ACC/SEC Challenge.
Kansas will host Eastern Illinois Tuesday and UConn three nights later in the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
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