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No. 3 Kansas Falls 65-60 at UCF


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – No. 3 Kansas fell 65-60 on Wednesday night at Addition Financial Arena as UCF used a strong second half to secure the win.

Jaylin Seller scored 18 points and Darius Johnson added 17 for UCF.

“They were better than us tonight,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “There’s no understating that they were better than us. On the flip side, we weren’t very good.”

Ibrahima Diallo broke a 57-57 tie with less than three minutes left with a hook shot over Jayhawks (13-2, 1-1 Big 12) star Hunter Dickinson. He then blocked a KJ Adams Jr. shot with 50 seconds left to help the Knights (10-4, 1-1) preserve the lead and score the program’s first Big 12 conference win.

“It just shows we can compete at the highest level,” Johnson said. “That is clearly a great basketball team. It just shows we can beat them, compete and be a postseason team.”

Diallo had 13 points, five rebounds and a block to help anchor a UCF defense that forced eight turnovers and blocked four shots in the second half.

“We committed. Everyone had to lock in on defense,” Diallo said. “It was a defensive game. All my teammates we locked in on defense. That made the offense be easier.”

Kansas had 18 turnovers. The UCF center triad of Ibrahima Diallo, C.J. Walker and Omar Payne recorded five of the team’s seven blocks in the game.

Kevin McCullar Jr. scored 16 points to lead Kansas. Dickinson had only 12 points and played 28 minutes because of foul trouble, but he did reach 1,900 career points.

“We turned the ball over at a high rate,” Kevin McCullar Jr. said. “That leads to easy baskets for the other team, we have to take care of the ball better.”

UCF used a 9-0 run in the second half during that time to take the lead for the first time since it was 7-5 early in the game thanks to a series of shots from Johnson and Sellers.

That duo combined to make 7 of 13 3-pointers for the game and three of four in the second half.

The Jayhawks got the Knights down by double-digits in the first half but could not figure out UCF’s length in the second half, scoring only 23 points and shooting 7-for-22 shooting in the second half.

Kansas was in a position to claim the top spot in next week’s poll after the losses by the top two teams. But the Jayhawks have not looked dominant in conference play, winning their first Big 12 game at home against TCU by two points before falling to UCF.

UCF picked up its first Big 12 win in its inaugural season in the conference, leading to fans storming the court in celebration after the victory.

Kansas will get a chance to recover when they host No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday.

UCF’s gauntlet to start its inaugural Big 12 season continues Saturday when the team hosts No. 18 BYU in Orlando.