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Coming up clutch, 2 big milestones & a memorable outing/quote

6 min read

Every week we take a look back at the performances by KU athletes that were above and beyond.

From football to volleyball, cross-country, and all across the athletic department, we'll break down the best of the best in the world of Kansas athletics.

Performance #1: SG Kevin McCullar Jr. & PG Dajuan Harris Jr. 

Background: Dec. 16 against the Indiana Hoosiers 

What happened: The two veterans on KU’s squad, Kevin McCullar and Dajuan Harris, came up clutch when the Jayhawks needed them most. In a hostile road environment, one that Kansas had yet to win in, the two seniors helped ice the contest to give Kansas the 75-71 victory. 

The Jayhawks came out of the gates cold from the floor, allowing the Hoosiers to get out to an early lead and separate themselves. Indiana found itself with an eight-point lead to end the first half, carrying all the momentum into the locker room.

Indiana led by as much as 13 points with just over 15 minutes remaining, and that was when McCullar and Harris stepped up to lead the comeback charge.

McCullar scored 11 points in the final 10:07 of the game, taking the game over specifically from the free throw line. The San Antonio, Texas native attempted 16 free throws in the game, converting 13 of them. Indiana as a team made 15 free throws in the game. 

Harris added seven points of his own in the same time frame, combining for 18 of Kansas’ 27 points scored in the final 10:07 of the contest. 

Why it’s so great: The win marked Kansas’ first win in Bloomington, Indiana in program history and tied the series at 8-8. McCullar and Harris also helped Kansas win its second game this season when trailing by double digits after being Kentucky back on Nov. 14. 

Harris ended the game with 12 points, five assists and two steals, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor. Harris’ impact to the team is abundantly clear, as the Jayhawks are now 27-1 all time when he scores 10 or more points. 

McCullar recorded the fourth game in his career with 10 or more free throws made, finishing with 21 points, six boards, four assists, three steals and a block. He may have shot just 3-11 from the field, but McCullar came up clutch when it mattered most, converting 81.2% from the charity stripe. 

McCullar finished with 21 points, giving him his sixth 20-point game of the season, and the ninth of his college career. McCullar has consistently shown that he can be the team’s leading scorer night in and night out and has shown his development on the offensive side of the ball. 

Kansas next plays Yale on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. back at Allen Fieldhouse. 

KU transfer Ryan Cobbins had a memorable week at Allen Fieldhouse during her first season with the Jayhawks. [Chance Parker photo]

Performance #2: Super-senior guard Ryan Cobbins

Background: Dec. 16 against Central Arkansas

What happened: Kansas took on the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears in Allen Fieldhouse, where Ryan Cobbins finished the night with a historic performance. The Jayhawks took down the Sugar Bears 69-48 as Cobbins led the charge offensively. 

The Kansas City, Kansas native came off the bench and put up a very efficient 11 points on 5-6 shooting from the field. She added three rebounds and an assist in her 23 minutes of playing time, tying for a team lead in points with super-senior guard Zakiyah Franklin's 11 points. 

Cobbins’ 11 points led the way for the bench unit, but freshman guard Laia Conesa and freshman center Paris Gaines both stepped up to help the team. They each added six points and two rebounds, while Conesa added three assists and a steal. Gaines also recorded two steals of her own.

Kansas’ bench outscored the Sugar Bears’ bench 27-6, giving the Jayhawks a huge lift in the scoring column on a night with inefficient starting performances. The starting lineup, outside of Franklin, combined to shoot for 9-28 from the floor, but the bench stepped up to separate from the Sugar Bears. 

Why it’s so great: Kansas picked up its third-straight win and improved to 6-4 on the season behind a solid all-around bench performance. KU’s entire bench unit currently averages 14.9 combined points per game, but finished the game with 27 points, proving to be the difference in the end.

Cobbins has been a key piece to the bench unit not just for this game, but all season long. Cobbins is averaging 4.2 points per game on 40.7% shooting from the floor, receiving the starting nod for one game this season as well. 

In the fourth quarter against Central Arkansas, Cobbins scored her 1000th career point. She also grabbed her 500th career board in the first half, achieving two historic milestones in just her ninth game played with KU. 

Cobbins and the Jayhawks look to keep the momentum going in their next matchup with Nebraska on Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. 

KU big man Hunter Dickinson returned to Big Ten country to torment the Indiana Hoosiers last weekend in the Jayhawks' latest victory. [Chance Parker photo]

Performance #3: Senior center Hunter Dickinson

Background: Dec. 16 against Indiana 

What happened: In Kansas’ 75-71 win over the Hoosiers on Dec. 16, Hunter Dickinson made his presence felt down in the low post. Dickinson finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, good for yet another double-double for the big man out of Michigan. 

Double-doubles have come naturally for Dickinson this season as he picked up his third-straight, spanning back to his 14-point, 12-rebound performance against the Kansas City Roos back on Dec. 5. Dickinson recorded his seventh double-double of the season in just 11 games as he has shown he can be one of the best big men in the country on a nightly basis. 

Dickinson scored eight of his 17 points in the second half to help give Kansas the lead late in the ball game. And as the Indiana fans continued to boo Dickinson while on the court, their booing only added to the Kansas momentum in the second half. 

Why it’s so great: Dickinson has continued to shine on this Jayhawks squad, now averaging a career high in points with 19.2 per game while averaging a career high in both rebounds and steals as well. The Alexandria, Virginia native is averaging a whopping 12.7 boards per game and 1.3 steals a game, helping his team out on both ends of the floor. 

With a double-double in his next game against Yale, Dickinson will tie his longest career streak of double-doubles with four consecutive, which ended back on Mar. 23, 2023 with Michigan

With Dickinson’s 17-point, 14-rebound performance, many Indiana fans had a lot to be angry about, seeing their team fall to the Jayhawks. But Dickinson certainly doesn’t mind being the scapegoat of opposing fans’ frustrations. 

“You know, I could save a baby out here in Bloomington and they’d still boo me the next game. But that’s how it is. They’re not gonna ever like me here and so like why try to you know, be like a nice guy on the court? Like, who cares if they’re gonna boo you? As long as my Kansas Jayhawks back home in Allen like me, that’s all I need.”

Dickinson will look to tie a career best with a fourth consecutive game with a double-double against Yale on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.

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