Kevin McCullar missing as Texas Tech smashes KU. Will he return from injury Saturday?

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At full strength, Kansas has had a terrible time winning on the road during the 2023-24 Big 12 men’s basketball season.

With two players on the injured list — and another not quite 100% — the No. 6-ranked Jayhawks had no chance on Monday night, falling behind by as many as 15 points in the first half en route to a 79-50 loss to unranked Texas Tech at United Supermarkets Arena.

On Monday, KU was without missing starter Kevin McCullar (knee injury) and seldom-used reserve Jamari McDowell (flu).

The Red Raiders, who hit eight 3s the first half and 10 for the game, improved to 7-4 in the Big 12 to KU’s 7-5 mark. Point guard Dajuan Harris, who suffered an ankle injury Saturday against Baylor, scored seven points on 2-of-8 shooting with three assists to three turnovers in 36 minutes.

It gets no easier for the Jayhawks, 1-5 on the road this league season, who meet Oklahoma at 3 p.m. Saturday in Norman.

“There’s no update,” KU coach Bill Self said of McCullar, who also missed Saturday’s home win over Baylor. “He tried to practice some yesterday. He’s just not ready. He is moving around but not ready to play yet.”

Added Self of the senior perhaps being ready for OU: “I hope so.”

This one was as ugly as they come. Hunter Dickinson and KJ Adams combined for 10 points on 3-of-22 shooting.

The 29-point margin of defeat tied for the third-worst loss in the 21-year Self era. KU lost to USC by 34 points in 2021 and by 32 to Kentucky in 2014. Texas Tech also beat KU by 29 points, 91-62, in 2019, meaning Monday’s loss tied for the worst conference loss in the Self era.

KU’s 50 points marked the lowest point total in a conference game in the Self era, falling short of 53 points last season at Iowa State.

“I didn’t think that at all,” Self said, asked if he was more comfortable going into this game without McCullar considering KU beat Baylor Saturday without the former Texas Tech Red Raider.

McCullar, by the way, heard chants of “We want Kevin” from the crowd late in the game. And yes, the students did storm the court after Tech’s 18th win against six losses. KU fell to 19-6.

“It’d be the same way for Tech. Tech played eight guys tonight,” Self added. “I didn’t have a real comfort level going into this game whatsoever. The biggest reason is Tech played so well. They were really good — quick, athletic, bouncy, tough.”

Tech sophomore Darrion Williams was 12-of-12 shooting, good for a career-high 30 points with 11 rebounds.

“He was actually a focal point on our scouting report,” Self said, noting Williams and Warren Washington were a combined 17-of-19 shooting for 41 points. “Williams was fabulous. He was great. We didn’t do anything to try to take him away.”

About the shooting of Dickinson (2-for-12) and Adams (1-for-10), Self said: “I actually think we missed some shots; I also thought they contested shots well. They did a good job keeping Hunter off his spots. Credit should go to them how they defended them.”

Self didn’t witness the game’s last six minutes. He was tossed by an official after picking up two technical fouls.

Of the game, Dickinson said: “They were the better team. No way around it. They played better in every facet of the game. I think they played the way teams usually play against us.”

Especially on the road, where KU, remember, is 1-5 in conference play heading into the OU game.

Asked how much they missed McCullar, Nick Timberlake, who scored 13 points, said: “I mean, he’s a very important part of our team. We’ve been saying ‘next-man mentality’ since he’s been gone. It would have been nice to have him today.”