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Jayhawks fall to Illinois 82-75 in exhibition scrimmage for Maui relief

Coach Bill Self says game was a success as a learning tool for KU & fundraising effort

2 min read
Kansas guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) puts up a shot during the Jayhawks' exhibition scrimmage with Illinois in Champaign, Ill., on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. [Kansas Athletics photo]

The game didn't count but it meant a lot.

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said after Sunday's 82-75 loss to Illinois by preseason No. 1 Kansas that the defeat "exposed us" and did exactly what the Jayhawks wanted it to do.

Now, it's time to get back to work to find ways to address the things that cost them against a good team in a fun environment, where the Jayhawks wore Hawaiian-shirt-style uniforms to pay homage to the people in Maui who were affected by the recent fire.

Sunday's game raised money for the Maui relief efforts and Self said that was, by far, the best part of the experience.

"We raised well north of a million dollars, so it was good,” Self said in a KU press release recapping the game. “They did a great job with selling as many tickets as possible. There were a lot of positive things that came from it, and I do think it was much more uncomfortable of environment than our players thought it would be.” 

Here are a couple of quick notes from the game.

• Freshman guard Elmarko Jackson served as the Jayhawks' fifth starter, joining Dajuan Harris Jr., Kevin McCullar Jr., KJ Adams and Hunter Dickinson as the first five on the floor for the Jayhawks. Self said not to read much into who started in that fifth spot, so we won't. But Jackson finished with 4 points, 4 fouls, 2 assists and a turnover in just over 26 minutes of action.

• Senior transfer Nick Timberlake played the most minutes off the bench for KU (17:10) and he, too, finished with 4 points for Kansas. Freshman wing Johnny Furphy did not play because of shin splints.

• McCullar led Kansas with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while also adding 8 rebounds, 6 fouls and 3 turnovers in just under 35 minutes. Dickinson was right behind McCullar with 22 points and 9 rebounds on 9-of-20 shooting in 35 minutes.

• KU finished with just 3 steals (2 by Harris and 1 by Parker Braun) while recording 13 turnovers and 15 assists. The Jayhawks also made just 3 of 12 3-pointers and were out-rebounded 39-32.

• Terrance Shannon Jr., McCullar's former teammate at Texas Tech, led all scorers with 28 points on Sunday.

• Finally, as part of the goal of raising as much money as possible to help the community of Maui, fans have the opportunity to bid on the jerseys worn by the Jayhawks in Sunday's scrimmage, along with addition experiences and merchandise donated by Kansas Athletics. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Maui Strong Fun. The online auction will remain open through November 22.

Next up, KU will play its final exhibition contest inside Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. Wednesday night against Fort Hays State.

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Final Box Score from Sunday's exhibition scrimmage between Kansas and Illinois