Things finally seemed to click and the Jayhawks looked like a team playing as close to their ceiling as they have all year. In a game watched live by 35 NBA scouts and 10 NBA General Managers, the Morris twins led Kansas from the outset and completely dominated the first half of basketball in Waco.
Through one half the Jayhawks led the Bears by 21 points while shooting a blistering 80% from the field. Leading the way for Kansas in that time? Marcus and Markieff Morris who combined for 28 points on 13 of 14 shooting.
Quite simply the first half of basketball by the Jayhawks was the best half of basketball played all year for Kansas. What seemed more encouraging than the result was the mentality and intensity of the team. These Jayhawks looked angry, they looked hungry and they looked bent on proving a point.
Now granted this is a Baylor team falling well short of expectations. But 35 NBA scouts don't show up to watch Kansas beat up on just anyone. Baylor has length and Baylor is as athletic and talented as anyone. They're a team with NBA players and a team many expected could hand Kansas their first loss of the season.
That talent for Baylor started to show itself at times in the second half. Early on Baylor forced the Kansas offense further out in the half court set and on the offensive end the Bears did a better job of getting to the basket and attacking the offensive glass. Despite a sizable lead the Bears kept fighting and on several occasions approached that magical psychological landmark; the single digit deficit.
Fortunately for Kansas, they always seemed to have an answer and in the end it wasn't all that close. The Jayhawks answered the bell for what many consider their first big test in the quest for a seventh straight league championships. Kansas wins this one 85-65.
The Jayhawks were led by the Morris twins who contributed a combined 44 points and 14 rebounds on 19 of 24 shooting. The Jayhawks also received notable contributions from all three starting guards in Tyrel Reed, Tyshawn Taylor and Josh Selby.
Winners in this one; The Morris twins, Kansas playing to prove something and the Jayhawk starting guards contributing in almost perfect complimentary fashion.
Losers: The Kansas Jayhawk fan hoping the Morris twins might pass on the NBA for one final run in Lawrence. Who knows? It could still happen.
Next up for Kansas is a huge home game against the Texas Longhorns, a team that figures to be a major player for the Big 12 title. Saturday is a step in the right direction for one of those teams and tonight is a step in the right direction for Kansas. It's about road wins, Kansas gets them, others don't. And that's why Bill Self and Kansas have been so successful in the Big 12.