The Kansas Jayhawks suffered their first loss of the season Friday night in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, falling against No. 22 Tennessee 64-50.
That also snaps No. 3 KU’s 17-game winning streak dating back to last season, which had been the longest winning streak in the country.
Friday’s game was a tough one offensively for the Jayhawks, who shot just 32.1% from the floor for the game and merely 23.8% from three-point range. On an individual basis, most of Kansas’ most important players struggled to get in any sort of rhythm.
Junior forward Jalen Wilson tied for KU’s team high with 14 points on just 3-of-15 shooting, and that was his lowest point total of the season. Freshman guard Gradey Dick went just 2-of-8 from the floor for seven points and junior guard Dajuan Harris fouled out in just 18 minutes of action.
Tennessee shot 41.5% overall and 44.4% from three in its win on Friday.
The loss to Tennessee came after two straight hard-fought, close wins for Kansas. The Jayhawks edged out North Carolina State 80-74 in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis, led by a career-high 25 points from Dick. He made six three pointers in the game, all in the first half. Wilson also scored 19 in the Wednesday win.
KU then won a thriller in the tournament semifinals, taking down Wisconsin 69-68. Senior forward Kevin McCullar saved that game at the end of regulation, hitting a three with 12 seconds left to tie the contest at 63. The Jayhawks then sealed the win with just .2 seconds on the clock in overtime thanks to an acrobatic putback layup by sophomore guard Bobby Pettiford Jr. off a miss by sophomore forward Zach Clemence.
Pettiford’s game winner counted for the only bench points KU scored in the Thanksgiving Day win. Wilson led Kansas with 29 points in the semifinal victory.
With the second-place finish, KU is still looking for its first win in a preseason tournament since the 2019 Maui Invitational.
Arguably the most highly anticipated part of the now 6-1 Jayhawks’ nonconference schedule begins next week, although first Kansas will host Texas Southern on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. Following that matchup, KU will host Seton Hall, visit Missouri and then welcome Indiana to Lawrence in its subsequent three games.