Jalen Wilson hit five 3-pointers and had 22 points, MJ Rice added 19 as No. 9 Kansas beat Texas Southern 87-55 Monday night
#9 Kansas Defeats Texas Southern 87-55 in a Rebound VictoryBy DAVE SKRETTAAP Basketball WriterThe Associated PressLAWRENCE, Kan.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Kansas freshman MJ Rice went through the ringer in his first two months of college basketball: back injury during preseason practice, a bout with COVID-19, and then kidney stones last week that they sent to the emergency room.
The five-star recruit showed Monday night what he can do when he’s healthy and available.
Rice came off the bench to score 19 points, Jalen Wilson hit five 3-pointers and had 22, and the ninth-ranked Jayhawks rallied from their first loss of the season with an 87-55 loss to Texas Southern.
“I’m just coming in and doing my job, really, whether it’s bringing energy or playing defense,” Rice said later. “I know I wasted some time, but it’s also kind of piling up. I have to find that rhythm again”.
Gradey Dick added 15 points, Josef Yesufu had 14 and KJ Adams had 10 for the Jayhawks (7-1), who stumbled against No. 13 Tennessee in the championship game of Battle 4 Atlantis. They are now 109-16 after a loss under head coach Bill Self, who made his regular season debut at Allen Fieldhouse after missing three home games due to a school-imposed suspension.
“I think it was probably pretty good overall,” Self said, “considering we were tired and hadn’t practiced since playing Tennessee. I thought it was the best we could do.
Davon Barnes had 22 points and Zytarious Mortle had 11 for the Tigers (1-7), whose brutal non-conference schedule has taken them to Texas Tech, Houston and Auburn with a trip to Wichita State yet to come.
Texas Southern head coach Johnny Jones was unavailable after the game.
It was a rematch of a first round game of last season’s NCAA tournament won by the Jayhawks on their way to the national championship. And for a stretch in the first half, the Tigers gave the champions all they could handle.
Texas Southern was still up 14-10 midway through the first half when Kansas snapped a 15-2 run to take control. But even during the snap, the Jayhawks at one point missed three straight shots, failed to capitalize on turnovers, and failed to reclaim a large lead on the boards against a much smaller team.
Kansas even gave up a buzzer-beating 3 that got preseason favorites SWAC within 40-25 at halftime.
“Defensively we weren’t very good early on,” Self said, “and they lost a lot of layups.”
If there was still some drama, it evaporated in the opening minutes of the second half. Texas Southern shot four times in its first five possessions, Kansas snapped a 14-2 run, and Self was finally able to examine his bench.
ONE LAST TIME
TV play-by-play man Dave Armstrong signed for the last time after a 38-year career broadcasting the NBA, Major League Baseball, college football and college basketball. He has been a staple in the Big 12 since 1988, when he was known as the Big 8, and regularly called games in the Big East, Big Ten and ACC.
Kansas forward Kevin McCullar Jr., who is averaging 9.7 points and 7.3 rebounds, watched the game in street clothes with a minor groin injury. Backup guard Bobby Pettiford Jr. was out with a hamstring injury.
Texas Southern couldn’t overcome 16 turnovers and a bad night from the 3-point arc, where the Tigers were 4-for-17. They also only got six points off the bench, and their lack of depth was evident as they wore away in the second half.
Kansas was 13-of-29 from the arc and many of the shots came from open stares thanks to good ball movement. The Jayhawks had 23 assists on 30 shots made, including six assists from Wilson and nine from Dajuan Harris Jr.
Texas Southern heads home Sunday to take on North American foe the NAIA.
Kansas plays Seton Hall Thursday night in the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
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