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McCullar Scores Career-Best 34 Points, Kansas Pulls Away for 75-60 Win Over Yale

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Kevin McCullar Jr. scored a career-high 34 points, taking over during a second-half run that gave Kansas the lead, and the No. 2 Jayhawks eventually pulled away from Yale for a 75-60 victory Friday night.

BOX SCORE

“He’s been our best player the whole year. He proved it again today,” said graduate senior Nic Timberlake, who added 13 points. “Got nicked up in practice the other day and played through it. Easily one of the toughest players I’ve played with.”

Timberlake came off the bench to hit three three-pointers and score 13 for the Jayhawks (11-1), who trailed by as many as 11 in the first half and by a point at the break before making the final appear much more comfortable than it was all night.

“We didn’t play well early,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “The last 24 minutes I thought we were pretty good.”

Yale (7-6) shut down Kansas big man Hunter Dickinson, kept the Jayhawks from getting into transition and held its own on the glass. It also got 13 points apiece from guards August Mahoney and Bez Mbeng, who kept the Bulldogs in the game.

Kansas has had trouble with trap-type games this season, stumbling past Eastern Illinois between the Maui Invitational and a showdown with UConn, and struggling to overcome a slow start against Kansas City before facing rival Missouri.

Yale put together tough buckets to gain early confidence when Mahoney and John Poulakidas began knocking down three-pointers. By the time Danny Wolf knocked down a 3 of his own, and Kansas coach Bill Self called timeout, the Bulldogs had built a 25-14 lead in the closing minutes of the first half.

The Jayhawks settled down a bit, scoring the final seven points of the half, but they still trailed 33-32 at the break.

Then they turned up the defense in the second half.

Forcing the Bulldogs into a pair of shot-clock violations, and very nearly three more, the Jayhawks slowly pulled back ahead. And when they got the lead, they quickly extended it, unspooling a 13-1 run to take a 51-43 lead with 7 and a half minutes to go.

McCullar added a pair of three-pointers during a 10-0 run a couple of minutes later that put the game away.

“The big thing for us, we have guys that can put the ball in the hole,” McCullar said. “It’s about the defensive end for us. Not all shots are going to fall. We have to worry about the defensive end first.”

UP NEXT

Kansas plays Wichita State on Saturday, Dec. 30 in Kansas City at the T-Mobile Center. Tip off is set for 3 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.

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