Log in

McCullar scores 21 as No. 5 Kansas beats No. 4 UConn 69-65 in showdown of past 2 NCAA champions


LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kevin McCullar Jr. scored 21 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers that gave Kansas the lead down the stretch, and the fifth-ranked Jayhawks held on to beat No. 4 UConn 69-65 on Friday night in a showdown of the past two national champions.

The Jayhawks (7-1) had a chance to wrap up the game in the final minute, when the Huskies (7-1) were forced to foul, but KJ Adams Jr. and Dajuan Harris Jr. were only able to make one of their four free throws.

The defending champion Huskies raced down the floor, and Cam Spencer got a good look at a potential go-ahead 3-pointer, but the shot came up short and Adams grabbed the rebound. He was fouled, and this time he made both free throws with 2.4 seconds left to clinch the win.

Hunter Dickinson had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Adams finished with 18 points, helping the Jayhawks snap the Huskies' remarkable streak of 24 consecutive nonconference wins by double digits.

Tristen Newton hit a career-high six 3s and scored 31 points for the Huskies, but he got little help from the rest of the offense. Donovan Clingan, who banged with fellow 7-footer Dickinson all night, was held to eight points and seven boards.

Kansas students began camping for the game more than two days early, and in only the second regular-season nonconference matchup of the past two national champions since at least 2000, their Jayhawks threatened to turn it into a rout.

They raced to a 16-5 lead by the time the game was five minutes old, ratcheting up what already was a deafening roar inside old Allen Fieldhouse. And every time the Huskies — or more accurately, Newton — made a 3-pointer to cut into the lead, the Jayhawks were able to get into transition against one of the nation's top scoring teams for another easy basket.

Kansas had chances to deliver a knockout blow, leading by as many as 12 with the ball, but couldn't quite land it. Newton took advantage, scoring the final five points of the first half to trim the Jayhawks' lead to 38-31 at the break.

UConn kept coming, scoring the first five points of the second half, setting up the heavyweight matchup everyone expected.

The Huskies took their first lead when Newton beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer with 10 1/2 minutes to go, then he drilled another one on their next trip down the floor. Kansas answered when Adams got a floater to go in the lane, then McCullar hit back-to-back 3s and Dickinson one of his own to give the Jayhawks a 61-54 lead with less than four minutes to go.

Alex Karaban gave the Huskies hope with a 3-pointer shortly before fouling out, and then he watched from the bench as two of college basketball's titans went shot-for-shot over the final couple of minutes.


UConn played again without five-star prospect Stephon Castle, who had missed the last five games with a knee injury but was hoping to be back for the Jayhawks. Then their backcourt took another hit when Spencer came up limping in the first half, though he returned to play the rest of the game.


UConn plays No. 17 North Carolina on Tuesday night in New York.

Kansas plays Kansas City on Tuesday night.


Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball