Cincinnati stuns Kansas with blowout in second round of Big 12 tournament, marking latest skid for Jayhawks

Without Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar available, Kansas is headed home from the Big 12 tournament early

Dan Skillings and Cincinnati knocked off Kansas to reach the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night.

Bill Self’s season continued to slip away Wednesday night.

Cincinnati held on to knock off Kansas 72-52 in the second round of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday. While both Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar weren’t available due to injuries, the loss marked the fourth in Kansas’ last five games in what’s turning out to be a terrible stretch at the worst time for the team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation to start the season last fall.

[Free bracket contests for men's & women's tourneys for shot at $25K]

Cincinnati — which had to rally from a 16-point hole in the second half to beat West Virginia in the opening round of the tournament at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City on Tuesday night — flew ahead of the Jayhawks just before halftime in the second round of the tournament. The Bearcats used a big 14-1 run late in the first half to briefly take a 17-point lead, and they held Kansas to just two field goals in the final 8:26 of the opening period. That gave them a 13-point lead at the break.

While Kansas cut the deficit to just two points out of the break after rattling off a 13-2 run to start the second half — eight points of which came from K.J. Adams — that was as close as the Jayhawks got. Cincinnati quickly pushed back ahead and easily held on to grab the 20-point win.

Dan Skillings Jr. led Cincinnati with 25 points and seven rebounds while shooting 10-of-23 from the field. John Newmann added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Simas Lukosius finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Cincinnati will now advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament to take on Baylor on Thursday.

Adams finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks in the loss, though he was the only player to hit double figures for Kansas. Dajuan Harris added eight points and five assists, and Jamari McDowell added seven points off the bench. Kansas shot just 3-of-20 from the field as a team, and was out-rebounded by 11.

Dickinson dislocated his right shoulder in Kansas’ loss to Houston on Saturday, and McCullar has been battling a bone bruise in his left knee. Both were ruled out of the Big 12 tournament, but the plan is for both of them to be available for the NCAA tournament.

While they are still very safe to make it in on Selection Sunday — ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had Kansas slated as a No. 4 seed in his latest mock bracket before Wednesday’s game — this is about the worst possible way for the Jayhawks to enter the postseason. They’ve lost their last two games by a combined 50 points.

If Dickinson and McCullar aren’t available for the NCAA tournament next week, Kansas could very easily be facing yet another quick exit. That’s something that didn’t seem like a real possibility just a few months ago.