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Recap & takeaways from KU basketball loss to UCF Knights

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Recap & takeaways from KU basketball loss to UCF Knights
Elmarko Jackson was waiting for a quick feed from Kansas forward KJ Adams to him in the left corner. With 4:35 remaining, the ball deflected off the freshman guard and went out of bounds rather than creating an open 3-point shot.

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That was a typical scene during Wednesday’s game versus UCF. The usually cool Jayhawks were agitated, made reckless passes with the ball, and committed key errors.

A group that was adept at winning close games disintegrated.

On Wednesday at Addition Financial Center, in front of a sold-out crowd, UCF stunned the third-ranked Jayhawks, winning 65-60.

The Jayhawks, who had been ahead for nearly the whole first twenty-seven minutes, were now behind by seven points. With roughly 57 seconds remaining, they were only behind four points, but Adams drove to the rim and was blocked.

Hunter Dickinson trimmed the margin in half with a 3-point jumper after UCF increased their advantage to six points. With fifteen seconds remaining, UCF’s Darius Johnson made two free throws to put the Knights up five, thus ending the game.

It appeared earlier that KU might win easily. For roughly 22 minutes of the game, Kansas led by as much as 16 points, with the majority of that lead occurring in the first 27 minutes of play.

The Jayhawks, ahead 37-29 at the half, watched as UCF stormed back to take a 19-7 lead and take back the lead. A timeout was called by the Jayhawks. Only once thereafter, for around thirty seconds, did they lead 53–52.

As KU’s nine-game winning streak came to an end, Dickinson scored 12 points and Kevin McCullar scored 16. The Jayhawks (13-2) suffered a loss in their inaugural game against UCF, a Big 12 newcomer.

Because they couldn’t handle the ball, the Jayhawks allowed the Knights to get back into the game.

Even though KU shot 68% of the field and UCF shot 38%, the Jayhawks were only ahead by eight points at the half.

Why? UCF converted nine turnovers by Kansas into nine points off of turnovers.

With 18 turnovers in the second half, KU’s performance didn’t get much better. Those turnovers resulted in eighteen points for the Knights.

On the other hand, the Jayhawks scored just 12 points off of 13 UCF errors. Adams had four turnovers, McCullar had five, and Dajuan Harris, who had five in his previous game, had three more.

With UCF ahead 7-0 early in the Jayhawks’ game, Bill Self went to his bench. Jackson was replaced by rookie Johnny Furphy in his first substitute.

Furphy scored a 3-pointer right away, forcing the Knights to call a timeout. He stole the ball and made an incredible slam right after the timeout.

Afterwards, Furphy was run an inbound play by KU, which he turned into a fast layup. The sequence demonstrated that Self and his staff were confident enough in the rookie to execute a move that resulted in a goal from him.

The first half on Wednesday served as yet another illustration of how the Australian phenomenon has gradually begun to appear more at ease with every game.

In 17 minutes, he finished with nine points and four rebounds, which was the most since Nov. 20.

Throughout the season, the Jayhawks’ bench has been a serious vulnerability. Both general consistency and score production have been lacking.

Well, against the Knights, the bench performed admirably.

The first half alone saw KU’s bench outscore UCF by 12 points (14–2). The seven points Furphy scored in the first half led the bench, which offered some much-needed scoring relief.

Kansas had a 9-point lead in bench points (17–8) at the end of the game. Parker Braun and Nicolas Timberlake combined for the remaining eight points. Along with three rebounds, Braun also had a steal and a block.

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