No. 21 Baylor comes up short in end, 56-55 to No. 12 Kansas
WACO, Texas (AP) — Kenny Chery and No. 21 Baylor will have to try to forget a night when the senior guard scored a game-high 25 points against No. 12 Kansas.
Chery was involved in two plays in the final 10 seconds when Baylor wasn’t able to regain the lead in a 56-55 loss.
“It’s pretty hard to grasp. Guys played their heart out there. ... It was just some mental mistakes at the end that cost us,” Chery said. “It’s really frustrating, but it happened and we’ve got to move on.”
When Frank Mason missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left, it ended a streak of seven consecutive made field goals by Kansas (12-2, 1-0 Big 12), which was still ahead by one point.
Chery got the rebound, but Royce O’Neale’s shot was blocked by Perry Ellis. Rico Gathers, who had 14 rebounds, couldn’t tip it in before a wild scramble left Baylor (11-3, 0-2) still in possession with 10 seconds left.
“If you make one of the two layups with 10 seconds remaining you’re in a different feeling right now. We didn’t,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “We’ve got to get better at finishing with length and contact, because that’s what the Big 12′s about.”
Kelly Oubre deflected the inbounds pass by Chery, who had the ball go off his hands and out of bounds with 8.5 seconds left, a play referees reviewed to confirm the call.
After Brannen Greene made two free throws with 6.3 seconds left to make it 56-53, Kansas quickly fouled Chery, who made both free throws. Mason then missed a free throw with 3 seconds left.
Taurean Prince got the rebound for Baylor, and Chery bobbled the ball before passing to Lester Medford, whose layup went in after the buzzer.
“I saw Lester in front of me, and I saw some time on the clock,” Chery said. “I thought he was going to shoot it, but he probably thought there was more time, so he took an extra dribble and the time ran off.”
Kansas took the lead for good when Wayne Selden, 1-of-6 shooting until then, made three consecutive baskets in a span of less than two minutes.
“Wayne didn’t play a lick, in my opinion, until it counted, and then he played great,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “He was terrific.”
Selden’s tiebreaking 3-pointer, the middle of his three clutch baskets, put Kansas ahead to stay at 52-49 with 2:17 left.
The Jayhawks won their 24th consecutive conference opener. Kansas hasn’t lost a league opener since January 1991 while still part of the Big Eight.
Kansas: The Jayhawks shot 73 percent (16 of 22) with only three turnovers after halftime, after shooting 28 percent (8 of 29) before that. ... Jamari Traylor led Kansas with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting before fouling out with 5:18 left. Greene had 12 points and Mason 11. ... The Jayhawks were the last Big 12 team to play its conference opener. Three teams had already played two Big 12 games before Wednesday night.
Baylor: The Bears were 8 of 15 on 3-pointers, and 10 of 38 inside the arc.
Baylor honored former player Isaiah Austin, the 7-foot-1 post player expected to be a high NBA draft pick as an early entry last summer. But he was diagnosed a week before the draft with a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart and ended his playing career. He is back in school and working with the team as a student assistant. It was also announced Wednesday that Austin’s memoir will be published this summer.
TOO CLOSE TO THE ACTION
Carroll Webb is a longtime Baylor fan whose seat is only a couple of steps off the court. When 6-foot-10 Kansas forward Landen Lucas went after a loose ball in the first half, he tumbled over Webb, knocking the elderly man out of his seat. People rushed to tend to Webb, who got up and gave a thumbs-up. On the next whistle, Lucas went over to check on Webb, who a few minutes later walked to reporters and said, “I’m all right,” and that he expected to be in their stories. Well-earned, Mr. Webb.
Kansas is home Saturday against Texas Tech.
Baylor travels up I-35 to play at TCU on Saturday.