BY DAVE SKRETTA
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Kevin McCullar Jr. had a career-high 25 points, KJ Adams scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, and second-ranked Kansas struggled to hold off scrappy Kansas City in a 88-69 victory Tuesday night.
Hunter Dickinson added 14 and 11 rebounds for the Jayhawks (8-1), who appeared to be caught looking ahead — or behind — in a pitfall-type game between their win over No. 5 UConn last week and their game against bitter rival Missouri on Saturday.
Cameron Faas and Khristion Courseault scored 18 points apiece to lead the Roos (6-3), who trailed by eight with 3 1/2 minutes left before the Jayhawks scored 10 straight points to put the game away.
The Jayhawks initially looked as if they carried the momentum from their win over the Huskies into Tuesday night. They opened on a 14-4 run, followed with a 15-3 charge fueled by easy transition buckets, and they eventually built a 31-11 lead.
Undaunted, the Roos responded by outscoring their mighty neighbor to the west 19-14 heading into the break, then kept coming in the second half. And the most fight Kansas showed for long stretches came from Dickinson, their 7-foot-2 standout, when he had enough of Allen David Mukeba leaning on him and gave the Roos’ forward a two-handed shove to the floor.
The Jayhawks pushed the lead to 75-57 with just under five minutes left, but the Roos scored 10 unanswered points on just three trips down the floor, forcing Kansas coach Bill Self to call two timeouts in rapid succession.
Kansas scored 10 consecutive points out of the last timeout to lock up the win.
Kansas City is still winless in nine tries against the Jayhawks but should be emboldened by playing one of the nation’s top teams tight most of the game. And that could bode well when Summit League play begins.
Kansas has shown a troubling propensity for playing down to the opposition this season. The Jayhawks similarly struggled to a 71-63 win over Eastern Illinois last week.
Kansas City plays Lindenwood, which moved up to Division I last year, on Saturday.
Kansas welcomes the Tigers back to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.