PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — The 2022-23 Kansas men’s basketball season continued Thursday with a Battle 4 Atlantis tournament game inside Imperial Arena against Wisconsin.
The No. 3 Jayhawks picked up an 80-74 win in that event over NC State. The Badgers are coming off a 43-42 victory in this event against Dayton. Kansas was looking to continue its success in this tournament, which it hadn’t played since 2013.
Did coach Bill Self’s Jayhawks team go undefeated? Did coach Greg Gard’s Badgers team pull off a major upset? This was a showdown between the Big 12 Conference and Big Ten Conference programs.
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Here is what happened :
FINAL: Kansas 69, Wisconsin 68
Bobby Pettiford Jr. had a comeback just before the buzzer to hand Kansas the win.
Kansas leads Wisconsin 65-63 with 2:03 left in overtime
There haven’t been many goals at half-time yet. In fact, Kansas has the one and only bucket so far and leads 65-63 with 2:03 left in overtime. This comes from Dajuan Harris Jr.
END OF 2ND HALF: Kansas 63, Wisconsin 63
Wisconsin started a run late in the second half and took a late lead, but Kansas tied the game in the dying seconds on a 3-pointer from Kevin McCullar Jr. Then the Jayhawks stopped. Overtime, here we come.
Kansas leads Wisconsin 60-52 with 3:38 left in 2nd half
A Kevin McCullar Jr. 3-pointer again led to a Wisconsin timeout. This one put the Jayhawks up 60-52 with 3:38 left in the second half. He is 15 points and shooting much better than he did at the start of the contest.
Wisconsin took a brief lead, up 52-50, during that streak. But Kansas quickly picked it up. Jalen Wilson deserves a lot of credit for that.
Kansas and Wisconsin are tied 48-48 with 8:00 left in the 2nd half
Wisconsin’s comeback tied the two teams with eight minutes remaining in the second half. Turnovers were a major problem in the second half for Kansas, which has eight after halftime. The Jayhawks will have to clean that up to be able to come out with a win.
Neither team shoots the ball so well from the free throw line. This should be another area to watch at the end of the game. Both teams are in the bonus.
Kansas leads 43-37 with 12:06 left in the 2nd half
The Jayhawks are averaging one turnover per minute during this recent streak and saw their lead drop to six points with about 12 minutes left in the second half. Dajuan Harris Jr. and Kevin McCullar Jr. have up to three fouls. It’s two of Kansas’ best defenders, if not the top two, at fault as the Badgers make a run.
Connor Essegian is doing a lot to spark this run for Wisconsin. He has up to 10 points on 4 for 9 shooting from the field and a mark of 2 for 6 on 3s. For now, it will be up to players other than Harris and McCullar to slow him down.
Kansas leads 39-26 with 15:52 left in the 2nd half
The Jayhawks and Badgers were tied early in the second half. Kansas, who dispatched their starters after halftime, remain up 13 with just under 16 minutes left in the second half. Wisconsin is going to have to be more aggressive offensively than it has been because while Kansas won’t want to become stale offensively, the Jayhawks aren’t pressed for time the way the Badgers are right now either. .
Jalen Wilson has up to 16 points to lead all scorers, in addition to the seven rebounds he pulled that also lead all players in this one. He’s on his way to another double-double. His emergence as the leader of the Jayhawks has been key in the Bahamas and this season overall.
HALF-TIME: Kansas 33, Wisconsin 20
Kansas leads Wisconsin 26-15 with 2:58 left in 1st half
MJ Rice entered the game with 4:05 remaining, meaning he and Zach Clemence made their first appearances for the Jayhawks in this tournament after recently returning to practice. Rice will be a key part of Kansas’ rotation later this season. So it’s good news for the Jayhawks that he’s back in action.
Regarding Wisconsin, the Badgers have not scored for more than three minutes. Kansas defies shots and plays hard defensively. Not too long ago, a diving play by KJ Adams Jr. showed the energy with which the Jayhawks play at this end of the field.
Kansas leads 20-12 over Wisconsin with 7:36 left in the 1st half
The Jayhawks are now on a 6-0 streak and lead by eight points with about seven and a half minutes left before halftime. A Kevin McCullar Jr. 3-pointer forced a Wisconsin timeout on a day when McCullar struggled to shoot the ball. He’s at five points now after not hitting a bucket for a while.
More than half of Kansas’ shots have been 3s so far, and the Jayhawks are 5 for 13 from behind the arc. That’s why being outscored 8-2 on points in the paint doesn’t matter much yet. The Badgers are 1 for 5 out of 3 so far.
Kansas and Wisconsin are tied 6-6 with 11:29 left in the 1st half
Self went with a roster that included three smaller guards – Joseph Yesufu, Bobby Pettiford Jr. and Dajuan HarrisJr. – to level up with the Badgers. Kansas, which had Jalen Wilson and Zach Clemence on the court with those three during the time they were together, is now tied 6-6 with Wisconsin with 11:29 left in the first half. It was a formation built for points, who didn’t do much there, but at least leveled the score again.
The Jayhawks are a miserable 2-for-16 from the field and 1-for-8 behind the arc so far. Some of those shots have been disputed, but many are just plain misses. Getting Gradey Dick started could do a lot for Kansas right now.
Wisconsin leads 4-3 with 15:51 left in the 1st half
Kevin McCullar Jr. can’t hit an open shot and started the game 0 for 5 from the field. Self took it out after that break with 15:51 left in the first half, and the Jayhawks trailed 4-3. They go with normal starters and Joseph Yesufu now, as well as Zach Clemence for KJ Adams Jr.
McCullar’s play was emblematic of what Kansas struggled with early on offensively, settling for jumpers when they should be moving the ball more and trying to attack inside. Fix that, and they should be in a much better position. The Jayhawks are doing well defensively so far.
Kansas’ Bill Self appears on the team’s pregame show
As for the Wisconsin offense, Self said the Badgers would take their time. They are disciplined. Fans should expect to see long possessions.
As for Wisconsin’s defense, Self said the Badgers don’t block a ton of shots, but will get you shooting through traffic. They defend the 3-point arc well thanks to their spacing. And they are also disciplined on this side of the pitch.
Kansas’ KJ Adams Jr. appears on team’s pregame radio show
Adams said the team wants him to be more aggressive, so that’s what the sophomore forward tried to do Wednesday in the win over NC State and has tried to do this season. The biggest change for him, compared to his first season in 2021-22, has been his confidence. And he thinks it shows on the pitch.
Adams compared Wisconsin to Duke, because of how the Badgers will try to play big two like the Blue Devils did. He will seek to bring in defensive energy. And he appreciates being able to show it in the Bahamas.
Wisconsin is heating up
No change in who warms up for Kansas
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas athletics at the Topeka Capital-Journal. Reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.