Kansas vs. Indiana score, takeaways: No. 2 Jayhawks survive scare, storm back for first win at Assembly Hall

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No. 2 Kansas showed its championship DNA again Saturday by rallying from a 13-point deficit in the second half to beat Indiana 75-71 for the program’s first win inside IU’s Assembly Hall. The Jayhawks (10-1) withstood a barrage from the Hoosiers (7-3) early in the second half and made a late push behind the contributions of its veteran quartet of starters.

KU seemed undaunted by the rowdy atmosphere in its first true road game of the season. Senior center Hunter Dickinson — accustomed to the venue from his three seasons at Michigan — even pumped his arms to ask for noise as KU mounted its charge late in the second half. Dickinson gave Kansas its first lead with 4:49 remaining on a hook shot, and the Jayhawks never let up. 

Trey Galloway scored a career-high 28 points for the Hoosiers and had a clean 3-point look from the right wing with 23 seconds remaining, but it missed long. Kevin McCullar Jr. iced the game at the free-throw line for the Jayhawks, going 4 for 4 in the final 20 seconds on his way to a team-high 21 points. McCullar finished 13 of 16 from the charity stripe and scored 13 points in the second half after KU trailed 40-32 at the break.

Dickinson finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. KJ Adams added 14, and Dajuan Harris Jr. scored 12 for the Jayhawks. freshman forward Mackenzie Mgbako and sophomore Malik Reneau combined for 27 points to help Indiana’s cause, but the Hoosiers made just 3 of 10 shots from the floor over the final four minutes.

Unselfish group

Kansas entered with the nation’s No. 1 assist percentage at 73.1%, meaning nearly three-quarters of their buckets were coming off passes leading directly to scores. The Jayhawks racked up another 18 assists in the win over Indiana, led by five from Harris. The Jayhawks’ ability to find the right looks paid off in a significant way during the second half as they shared the basketball instead of relying on isolations or dribble-oriented pick-and-roll sets.

KU’s offensive cohesion appears to be benefitting Dickinson, in particular. His 63.7% shooting mark from the field entering Saturday’s contest marked a career-best by several percentage points. Though he was just 4 of 11 in the first half against Indiana, the 7-footer bounced back by making 4 of 6 looks from the field in the second half, with all of his makes coming in the final 11 minutes as the Jayhawks made their comeback. It was fair to wonder how veterans like Harris, McCullar and Adams would adapt to playing with a unique interior force like Dickinson. With another display of unselfish basketball in Saturday’s win, the Jayhawks demonstrated just how well Dickinson’s transfer from Michigan to Kansas is working for both sides.

Depth concerns growing

There were just nine total bench points in the game as both teams’ lack of depth stood out. Indiana played without senior guard Xavier Johnson for a fourth straight game as he continues to deal with a foot injury. His return will help alleviate some of the Hoosiers’ depth issues. But the Jayhawks don’t have anyone coming back to help build their bench. 

Harris played all 40 minutes for the second straight game, marking the first time in his career he’s gone wire-to-wire in consecutive contests. Kansas is customarily among the nation’s least-reliant on reserves under 21st-year coach Bill Self, but the phenomenon is going to new extremes this season.

While Johnny Furphy, Jamari McDowell, Parker Braun and Nic Timberlake each played between 2-8 minutes for Kansas, only Furphy and McDowell saw action in the second half, and they combined for just six minutes after the break. Finding trustworthy bench contributions will be key for the Jayhawks as they move into the grind of Big 12 play.

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