No. 16 Baylor blows lead, falls to No. 8 Kansas 74-64
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Baylor coach Scott Drew had been sick lately, and he could barely croak out a couple sentences by the time he settled behind the table Saturday for his postgame news conference.
Two hours spent trying to yell over the roar inside Allen Fieldhouse probably didn’t help.
Buoyed by another raucous home crowd, eighth-ranked Kansas overcame a slow start with some stellar shooting down the stretch Saturday. Kelly Oubre Jr. hit four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, and Perry Ellis also had 18 points as the Jayhawks beat the No. 16 Bears 74-64.
“You don’t get easies,” Drew said hoarsely. “You have to beat them.”
Rico Gathers led the Bears with 18 points and eight rebounds for Baylor (18-7, 6-6), and was a big reason why the visitors managed to build a 13-point lead early in the first half.
Kenny Chery followed up his 25-point performance in the teams’ first meeting in Waco with 17 points, and Taurean Prince had 14 points off the bench.
“We wanted to come out being aggressive. We knew it was a hostile crowd, great environment,” Chery said. “We wanted to stay together and that’s what we did. We started well.”
The Bears just didn’t finish well.
Wayne Selden Jr. also had 15 points for the Jayhawks (21-4, 10-2 Big 12), who remained perfect in 13 matchups with Baylor in Lawrence. The win was their 21st straight at the Phog, and keeps the 10-time league champs with a comfortable lead with six Big 12 games to go.
“They came really ready to play, but the biggest thing the second half, they shot a low percentage,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We did a much better job on the glass, and we attacked their zone much better.”
Despite their long losing streak in Lawrence, the Bears looked unperturbed by the roaring sellout crowd stuffed inside the Jayhawks’ old barn. They launched an 18-6 run to open the game, beat Kansas to every loose ball and at one point had a 12-2 edge on the glass.
The Jayhawks finally hit their stride from behind the arc, making three straight 3s. By halftime, Baylor’s lead was trimmed to 33-27.
The Jayhawks kept up the pressure early in the second half, scoring right away on an alley-oop dunk by Wayne Selden. They finally took the lead for the first time when Oubre followed up his own missed 3 with a bucket at the rim to make it 36-35 with 17:13 remaining.
Baylor regained the lead a few minutes later, and it was 49-45 after Chery hit a 3-pointer with 9:41 to go. But the Jayhawks put together a 10-0 spurt of the next few minutes, and Brannen Greene’s 3-pointer capped the run to give Kansas a 55-49 advantage.
By that point, it was so loud inside Allen Fieldhouse that it didn’t matter whether Drew was ailing. His players and others could barely hear him.
“I’m sure the officials loved it,” Drew said drily.
Ellis reached the 1,000-point plateau early in the game, a rare feat in an era of top players moving onto the NBA before graduation. The Jayhawks’ junior forward called it “a great accomplishment.”
Kansas played a special video in memory of Dean Smith, who died last Saturday at his home in North Carolina. The longtime Tar Heels coach grew up in nearby Topeka and was part of the Jayhawks’ national title team in 1952. He later served as an assistant at Kansas under Phog Allen.
Baylor: The Bears dropped to 3-15 against Kansas under Drew. ... Baylor wound up with a 33-32 edge on the boards. ... The Bears allowed the Jayhawks to shoot 29 free throws.
Kansas: Frank Mason’s streak of 21 straight games scoring in double figures ended Saturday. He finished with five points and eight assists. ... Among former players who returned during the NBA’s All-Star break were Ben McLemore, Nick Collison and Joel Embiid.
Baylor heads to Lubbock to face Texas Tech on Tuesday night.
Kansas visits No. 21 West Virginia on Monday night.