Basketball vs. Southern Utah-jalen and gradey 2.jpg

Freshman guard #4 Gradey Dick and Junior guard #10 Jalen Wilson celebrating during the basketball game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Southern Utah Thunderbirds in Allen Fieldhouse on Nov.18.2022

The Jayhawks used some hot three-point shooting, going 10-for-21 from the three-point range to topple North Carolina State in their opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, 80-74.

The story of the first half was the play of freshman guard Gradey Dick. He had 18 points, all of which came from behind the arc to go six-for-nine. 

Redshirt-junior guard Dajuan Harris was tasked with perhaps his toughest task of the year defensively, as he had to guard North Carolina State sophomore guard Terquavion Smith, who was averaging 19 points a game for the Wolfpack. He managed 10 first half points, while Harris nabbed three steals. 

Harris also had five assists in a first half that saw the Jayhawks up 39-31 going into the locker room.

The Wolfpack were ready to go come the second half, starting with an 8-0 to tie the game. The run forced head coach Bill Self to call a timeout in his first game back from a four game suspension to start the season.

After the timeout, the two teams played evenly until the score was 43-43. Then redshirt-senior guard Kevin McCullar was able to get going. First with a three-pointer off of a redshirt-junior Jalen Wilson offensive rebound and kick out to him. 

The following defensive possession, he got the rebound and went coast to coast before drawing a foul going up for a lay up. He would make both to cap off his own 5-0 run.

The Jayhawks caught a huge break with 13:36 to go in the game. Facing full court pressure, Harris threw the ball wildly up the court, forcing McCullar to make a save in front of the Jayhawk bench. The save found the hands of a wide open freshman center Ernest Udeh, who got the lay up to go.

Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts then appeared to argue that McCullar was out of bounds, resulting in a technical foul. Dick made both free throws to increase his total to 20.

He later was sent to the charity stripe again, this time for three attempts after being fouled from behind the arc. He would make all three to increase the lead to 58-49.

North Carolina State would shrink the nine point deficit to zero after a 12-3 run, spearheaded by Smith. With 7:42 to go, the game was tied at 61.

Dajuan Harris would get six points in the next four minutes, first from a perfect trip to the line, followed by two lay ups contested tightly by Wolfpack post players to go up 71-67. 

After the under-four timeout, Smith brought the game within three with a free throw, however he missed the second, which was the first miss from the line for the Wolfpack.

That would open the floodgates, as graduate Forward DJ Burns would miss two on the next possession. 

The Jayhawks responded with a reverse lay up from Dick, and two made free throws to put Kansas up 76-68 and force the timeout from Keatts with 2:26 to go.

After Adams picked up his fifth foul, Self went to sophomore guard Bobby Pettiford to finish the game as opposed to another big man, shrinking the Jayhawk lineup.

He would foul twice in the time as the Wolfpack brought the score to 77-71. He would respond with an assist to Harris to put the game away for the Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks await the winner of Wisconsin and Dayton for their Thanksgiving matchup.