No. 4 Marquette set for test against No. 1 Kansas’ star duo

No. 4 Marquette set for test against No. 1 Kansas’ star duo

No. 4 Marquette will try to figure out how to stop the dynamic duo of Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar Jr. as No. 1 Kansas face the Golden Eagles in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday in Honolulu.

Kansas (4-0) defeated Chaminade 83-56 on Monday night behind Dickinson’s 31 points and 11 rebounds and the second straight triple-double by McCullar.

Marquette (4-0) edged UCLA 71-69 to reach the semifinal. The Golden Eagles used a 17-0 run early in the second half to change the complexion of the game.

Dickinson and McCullar were the only Jayhawks who scored in double figures against Chaminade, but that was more than enough for a Kansas victory.

Dickinson shot 15-for-18 from the field. McCullar had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, recording just the seventh set of back-to-back triple-doubles in NCAA history and the first in Kansas history. McCullar had just the third official triple-double in school history in the Jayhawks’ victory over Kentucky in Kansas’ previous game.

“I thought that Hunter was great,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said in a radio interview after the game. “Kevin made a couple of awful plays, but he still got 22, 11 and 10. Obviously that was pretty solid, even though I think he can play a lot better.”

That’s a scary thought for Kansas’ future opponents, including Marquette. But Self was anything but pleased with the rest of his team.

“It was a win,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’m totally ecstatic with how we performed, especially off the bench. We’ve got to be a heck of a lot better (Tuesday).”

The highlight might have been the contribution of KJ Adams Jr. The forward’s mother died Friday after a long battle with cancer. Adams left his native Dallas and arrived at the team hotel 2 1/2 hours before the Monday tipoff.

Self expected Adams to play around 10 minutes, but Adams had eight points and four assists in 26 minutes.

“His mom had a stroke Thursday night,” Self said after the game Monday night. “KJ went home at the crack of dawn on Friday and got there in time to see her. He and five other family members all flew out here today. They landed approximately 14 hours later. He gets off the plane and comes and plays. The entire KU community put their arms around him because he’s a special one.”

UCLA led most of the first half against Marquette. The Bruins took a 35-30 lead into the locker room, and they were up 45-33 with 15 minutes to go in the game. However, Marquette used the 17-0 run to turn the deficit into a five-point lead.

The Golden Eagles subsequently led by as many as seven points before UCLA tied it at 64-all with 4:05 left. The Bruins then took a 69-68 lead with 53 seconds to go before Sean Jones hit a 3-pointer to give Marquette the final lead with 36 seconds remaining.

UCLA’s Lazar Stefanovic missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds left, and Sebastian Mack’s layup attempt at the buzzer rolled off the rim.

“There are a lot of good teams in this tournament,” Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro said immediately after the game. “It’s like a March Madness game. It’s gonna be a tough tournament. We’ve got to play hard.”

David Joplin led Marquette with 19 points, followed by Ighodaro with 14 and Kam Jones with 12. Mack led all scorers with 25 points for UCLA.