Jayhawks too solid for Cougars to stop

Kansas center Hunter Dickinson (1) attempts to score against Houston forward Ja'Vier Francis (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Kansas center Hunter Dickinson (1) attempts to score against Houston forward Ja'Vier Francis (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Hunter Dickinson had 20 points as the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks beat No. 4 Houston 78-65 in front of a frenzied crowd on Saturday.

Kansas (18-4, 6-3) got 17 points each from Kevin McCullar and Johnny Furphy, and 10 from KJ Adams. The Cougars had not allowed more than 72 points in a game all season.

Houston (19-3, 6-3) was led by L.J. Cryer with 24 points while J'Wan Roberts and Emanuel Sharp scored 11 points each.

Houston came into the game with the nation's best scoring defense at 52.9 points per game allowed. The Jayhawks hit 53 points with 14:17 left in the second half on a layup by Dickinson.

Kansas extended its 15-point halftime lead to 20 in the second half. Houston cut the lead to 10 at at 68-58 but could not get closer.

The Jayhawks hit nine of their first 10 shots, helping them to a 23-11 lead at the second media timeout. The Cougars, who lead the nation in field goal defense (35.5%) allowed Kansas to shoot 68% (17 of 25) in the first half.

The Cougars had not allowed more than 30 points in a first half all season. The Jayhawks led 43-28 at halftime.

In other Top 25 games Saturday, Cam Spencer had 23 points, freshman Stephon Castle scored a season-best 21 and top-ranked UConn pulled away from St. John's for a 77-64 victory at Madison Square Garden. Tristen Newton added 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the defending national champion Huskies (20-2, 10-1) won their 10th consecutive game. Daniss Jenkins scored 19 for the scuffling Red Storm (13-9, 5-6). ... Kam Jones scored a career-high 31 points, Tyler Kolek had 17 points and eight assists and No. 9 Marquette won its sixth consecutive game by beating Georgetown 91-57. David Joplin scored 15 points and Oso Ighodaro added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Marquette (17-5, 8-3) forced 19 turnovers and outscored the Hoyas 35-5 in points off turnovers. Rowan Brumbaugh scored 12 points to lead Georgetown (8-13, 1-9), which lost its sixth consecutive game. ... Jaylin Williams scored 16 points and No. 16 Auburn erased a 13-point deficit in the first half with a dominating second half to defeat Mississippi 91-77. Johni Broome and Chad Baker-Mazara each scored 15 points, with 27 of those 30 combined points coming in the second half. Denver Jones and K.D. Johnson scored 11 points apiece as Tre Donaldson added 10 points for the Tigers (18-4, 7-2). Allen Flanigan (Little Rock Parkview) scored 20 points, Matthew Murrell had 18 and Jaemyn Brakefield 15 for Ole Miss (18-4, 5-4). ... Simas Lukosius scored 16 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 21 seconds left, and Cincinnati beat 15th-ranked Texas Tech 75-72, handing the Red Raiders their first home loss this season. The 14-footer by Lukosius was the 14th and final lead change of the game, which also had eight ties. That gave the Bearcats (15-7, 4-5) a 73-72 lead right after Pop Isaacs made a long defended step-back three-pointer to put the Red Raiders ahead for the final time. Isaacs, who finished with a game-high 22 points for Texas Tech (16-5, 5-3), missed a potential go-ahead jumper with nine seconds left. ... Jaedon LeDee had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead San Diego State to an 81-67 win against Great Osobor and No. 17 Utah State to pull the defending Mountain West champion Aztecs within one game of the Aggies. LeDee scored nine points in the second half of the showdown between the top two scorers and rebounders in the league. Osobor had 17 points and seven rebounds. The Aztecs (17-5, 6-3) beat the Aggies (19-3, 7-2) for the fifth consecutive time. ... Jaylin Sellers shot 13 for 14 from the line and scored 20 points, Antwann Jones hit three early three-pointers and finished with 15 points and UCF Coach Johnny Dawkins earned his 300th coaching victory in a 74-63 victory over No. 23 Oklahoma. Darius Johnson added 14 points and eight assists for UCF (13-8, 4-5), which never trailed and built a 17-point lead in the game. The Knights shot 28 for 32 from the line in the game and blocked 12 shots in the win. Le'Tre Darthard hit four three-pointers and scored 14 points, Rivaldo Soares added 11 and Jalen Moore 10 for the Sooners (16-6, 4-5). ... Max Abmas scored 19 of his 21 points after halftime, including the last 13 for Texas in a 77-66 win over TCU. Abmas put the Longhorns (15-7, 4-5) ahead to stay with a three-point play with 3:25 left that broke a 64-all tie. That layup and free throw started a personal 11-0 run that included two three-pointers, and he added a pair of free throws in the final minute. Dylan Disu had 15 points for Texas, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Dillon Mitchell had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Emanuel Miller had 15 points for the Horned Frogs (16-6, 5-4).

SEC MEN

In games involving SEC teams, Collin Murray-Boyles scored 16 points, Josh Gray added 15 off the bench and South Carolina pulled away for a 72-62 win over Georgia. Murray-Boyles and Gray both were 7-of-9 shooting and the Gamecocks shot 52% (29 of 56), making it easy with assists on 25 baskets despite a soldout, hostile crowd at Stegeman Coliseum. Meechie Johnson had 11 points and Ta'lon Cooper 10 with eight assists for the Gamecocks (19-3, 7-2). Jabri Abdur-Rahim scored 20 points for the Bulldogs (14-8, 4-5). ... Tyrece Radford scored 26, including the final three points of the game, and Texas A&M rallied to beat Florida 67-66. Zyon Pullin hit a jumper to put Florida up 66-64 with 3:04 remaining, but the Gators would not score again. Radford made 10 of 16 shots with two three-pointers and 4 of 7 free throws for the Aggies (13-8, 4-4 ), adding five rebounds. Pullin led the Gators (15-7, 5-4) with 18 points and eight assists. ... Ezra Manjon scored 17 points, including 5 of 6 free throws in the last 32 seconds, and Vanderbilt beat Missouri 68-61 in a battle of teams searching for their first SEC victory. Ven-Allen Lubin, who had 12 points, also had a pair of free throws with 11.6 seconds left, but more important, he had a blocked shot with 5.5 seconds to go that sealed the win. Tyrin Lawrence scored 14 points for the Commodores (6-15, 1-7). Noah Carter scored 20 points for the Tigers (8-14, 0-9).

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