Kansas Jayhawks vs. UMKC Kangaroos Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 5th 2023

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Kansas will be looking to avoid a loss of focus in a potential trap game on Tuesday night when it hosts Kansas City in Lawrence, Kan.

The second-ranked Jayhawks (7-1) trailed then No. 4 UConn midway through the second half before mounting a come-from-behind 69-65 victory over the defending national champions on Friday night. Following the matchup with the Roos, Kansas will face Missouri at home for the first time since 2012.

Hunter Dickinson scored 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the floor against the Huskies. He even went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and hit multiple big-time shots down the stretch. He also had nine rebounds and held fellow big man Donovan Clingan to just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting.

“I knew he’s a great player,” Dickinson said of the 7-foot-2 Clingan. “That’s what I play the game for. I’m a competitor, so that’s why I love these kinds of matchups.

“He’s obviously a very big human and they use him in a lot of good sets. They utilize his size a lot down there, so I tried to make his catches as far out as possible and try to make him a little bit less effective. But he’s a great player, so he’s going to get some touches down there for sure.”

Kansas held a 38-31 lead at intermission before UConn started the second half on a tear. The Huskies led 52-47 with 9:13 remaining before the Jayhawks scored 14 of the next 16 points in the game.

“I thought in the first half we played lights out,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But (Tristen) Newton was unbelievable. He was the best player in the game. In the second half, we were terrible in the first 10 minutes and they were great. Then the lid came off and we had a couple of good things happen.

“It was just a good basketball game. I think (UConn head coach Danny Hurley) would think his team got better by coming here tonight, even though he probably wasn’t happy with the outcome.”

Kansas was led by Kevin McCullar Jr. with 21 points and KJ Adams Jr. with 18 on the night before his mother’s funeral.

“He was playing for a lot more than Kansas tonight,” Self said. “I thought KJ was great. He’s so strong, he’s hard to screen. When you do screen, he’s going to run through it.”

The Jayhawks could be excused for looking past Kansas City (3-5) with old rival Missouri coming to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, followed by a road game at Indiana on Dec. 16.

Kansas City defeated Southeast Missouri State 74-44 on Nov. 30 to snap a five-game losing streak. The Roos got off to a fast start, shooting 46.9 percent from the field in the first half to help them take a 21-point lead into the break. They coasted through the second half.

Kansas City held the Redhawks to 1-for-19 shooting from 3-point range and enjoyed a 52-31 edge in rebounds.

“I’m very pleased with the effort,” Roos head coach Marvin Menzies said. “To handle them the way we did was impressive. Losing is not what we’re going to do here. I’m glad we were able to get off the schneid in the big picture of things.”

–Field Level Media

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