McCullers scored 21 as No. 5 Kansas defeated No. 4 UConn 69-65 in a showdown of the last two NCAA champions.


LAWRENCE, Kansas (AP) — Kevin McCullers Jr. scored 21 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Kansas consecutive leads, and the fifth-ranked Jayhawks beat No. 4 UConn 69- Gave. 65 on Friday night against the two defending national champions.

The Jayhawks (7-1) had a chance to tie 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. His four free throws.

The defending champion Huskies drove down the floor, and Cam Spencer got a good look at a potential 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 remaining and won.

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

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

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Kansas students began camping two days early for the game, and in only the second regular-season non-conference matchup of the two previous national champions since at least 2000, their Jayhawks had a chance of turning it into a loss. Had threatened.

By the time five minutes were up in the game they had led 16–5, which was already causing a deafening roar inside the 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 in transition for another easy basket against one of the country's top-scoring teams.

Kansas had a chance to deliver a knockout blow, leading by as much as 12 with the ball, but could not complete it. Newton took advantage, scoring the final five points of the first half to narrow the Jayhawks' lead to 38–31 at the break.

UConn kept coming, scoring the first five points of the second half, setting up what everyone hoped would be a heavyweight matchup.

The Huskies took their first lead when Newton beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer with 10 1/2 minutes remaining, then they drilled another on their next trip to the floor. Kansas responded when Adams got a floater to get in the lane, McCullers hit back-to-back 3s and Dickinson hit a shot of her 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 they watched from the bench as two college basketball greats went shot-for-shot in the final few minutes.

UConn again played without five-star prospect Stephen Cassel, who had missed the last five games due to a knee injury but was expected to return for the Jayhawks. Their backcourt then suffered another blow when Spencer limped off in the first half, although he returned to play the rest of the game.

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

Kansas plays Kansas City on Tuesday night.

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