Shorthanded Jayhawks Fall to Cincinnati in Big 12 Tournament

Without their two leading scorers, the #16 Kansas Jayhawks struggled to find offense all night, and it proved to be their downfall as they were eliminated from the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in a  72-52 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Kevin McCullar (knee) and Hunter Dickinson (shoulder) watched the game from the Kansas bench in street clothes. They had been ruled out of playing in the conference tournament by head coach Bill Self, who said earlier in the week he expected both players to play in the NCAA Tournament starting next week.

Without McCullar and Dickinson, the sixth-seeded Jayhawks scoring sputtered. They shot just 34 percent (21-62) from the field and just 15 percent (3-20) from three point range. KJ Adams tied a career high for KU with 22 points, but he was the only Jayhawk to reach double-figures.

Kansas trailed 38-25 at the half but opened the second half on a 13-2 run to get within two points at 40-38 with 13:29 to play. But they would get no closer, as the eleventh-seeded Bearcats responded with a 13-4 run and pulled away down the stretch for the victory.

Dan Skillings’ 25 points led the way for Cincinnati in the victory. They advance to take on the third seed, Baylor, at 8:30 on Thursday night in the quarterfinals. Kansas, meanwhile, failed to win a game at the Big 12 Tournament for the first time since 2017 and failed to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time ever, in the first year of a 14-team format.