February 1, 2023

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas forward Kevin McCullar Jr. claimed the Jayhawks have “so many guns anyone can score 10+ points a game.”

Almost everyone did it on Thursday night.

McCullar was returning from injury, scoring 17 points and catching 10 rebounds, Jalen Wilson added 15 points and 13 boards, and six players scored double digits for the No. 9 Jayhawks in their 91-65 win over Seton Hall in the Big East . Big 12 battle.

Gradey Dick also had 15 points, KJ Adams contributed 11, DaJuan Harris Jr. had 10 with seven assists, and Ernest Udeh Jr. finished his career top 10 for the Jayhawks (8-1) who are now over a week have to wait before visiting bitter rival Missouri for the first time in a decade next Saturday.

The Jayhawks tumbled past the Tigers 102-65 last year as they resumed their streak after a nine-year hiatus following Missouri’s departure from the SEC. Kansas has not faced them on the street since losing on February 4, 2012.

“There’s no reason we can’t rest before we play Mizzou,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self, “and there are some things we definitely need to work on. Hopefully we’ll be better equipped when we go there.”

Kadary Richmond had 17 points but also turned the ball seven times for the Pirates (4-4), who were just 4 of 19 in the 3-point arc and lost their third straight game. Tyrese Samuel added with 16 points.

“Everything is a lesson. There’s a lesson for you,” said Shaheen Holloway, who is in his first season coaching his alma mater. “You have to give these guys credit. They came out and played hard.”

The teams met for only the third time and the first time since 2018 when the Jayhawks defeated Seton Hall in the second round of the NCAA tournament. They played for the state championship that year.

Current champions Kansas built a huge first-half lead against the Pirates on Thursday night. But instead of starting one of their usual runs to control the game, the Jayhawks methodically extended their lead for the first 20 minutes, using their rim speed to get easy rim baskets.

“It’s about finding the best shot,” said McCullar, who was struggling with a sore groin, “and playing together.”

Kansas led 40-29 at the break. Harris was 4-4 with five assists at this point, the best of which came midway when the diminutive guard found Adams for an ally-oop dunk that turned into a three-pointer.

“It’s great when we can all move the ball, split the ball and score,” said Udeh.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall failed to fire a shot.

The Pirates missed their first eight from beyond the arc, walked 19 of 32 from the foul line and rarely got anything that wasn’t on the basket. And that made it seemingly impossible to dig out of their halftime hole.

By the time KC Ndefo rolled in his first 3, the Jayhawks had extended their lead to 50-31 with 14 1/2 minutes left.

Poor shooting coupled with turnover problems proved too much for Seton Hall to overcome.

“Free throws. If we can take free throws, that’s where we are,” Holloway said. “We started throwing the ball away and didn’t take our free throws. I thought that’s the difference.”

THE TAKE AWAY

Seton Hall was similarly lacking in losses to Iowa, Oklahoma and Siena when the Pirates were 1-9 from the 3-point line in a 65-60 loss at their last timeout. They were 20 of 32 from the foul line in that game.

Kansas forced the Pirates to 16 turnovers while conceding 11 of their own, and they had a huge advantage on the boards, meaning the Jayhawks simply had more offensive opportunities. They also took advantage of them.

NEXT

Seton Hall meets Lincoln on Sunday.

Kansas has the week off before visiting the Tigers.

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AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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