It sure didn't start out pretty, and it didn't really end pretty, but Kansas defeated Baylor by 10 at home in a game that was probably much closer than the final score would indicate. Kansas held the Bears to an even point per possession and scored 1.16 points per possession in the win.
What will no doubt delight some of the more old school followers is that Kansas shot just 33.3 percent from three and a sparkling 55.2 percent on twos. It could have been a lot better had Kansas made a couple uncontested layups, but you take what you can get I suppose.
Baylor's zone seemed to frustrate the Jayhawks a lot of the time, but the numbers don't totally back that up what with Kansas posting 1.16 points per trip, shooting 55.2 percent inside, and assisting on 72.7 percent of their baskets while committing turnovers on just 15.6 percent of their possessions. Baylor got a lot of credit for the way they ran their zone today, but I think the biggest factor is the unfamiliarity. They stifled Kansas a bit early thanks to Kansas being probably a bit less prepared than they should be, but Baylor is 7th in the league defensively for a reason, and it showed today as the Jayhawks had a nice mix of picking apart the zone, shooting over the top of it, and drawing fouls.
Overall I think Scott Drew had a pretty decent gameplan, and overall if you're Baylor you'd probably take his positives and live with the negatives, but with Kansas up 8 with 1:30ish left, Drew elected not to foul but to let Kansas run out the shot clock whereupon Perry Ellis hit a jumper to put the Jayhawks up by 10. And then he fouled. I don't get why he didn't just foul or understand the basic math that Baylor wouldn't have been able to come back playing straight up even if Perry had missed the shot.
As for the foul calls, if you had any internet access at all, you saw that Baylor fans were a bit upset at the whistles in this one, but if you take out Baylor's intentional fouls at the end, the foul disparity was just +3 for the Jayhawks, which makes sense when you consider that Baylor took five more threes than the Jayhawks. It's also worth noting that Kansas now is just 7th in the Big 12 at getting to the free throw line, but hey who needs facts and figures when you can make baseless allegations and blame losses on anything other than your team not being good enough.
Maybe the best work by Kansas all day, though, was on the defensive glass. Baylor is the best offensive rebounding team in the country, rebounding 42.8 percent of their misses, and the Jayhawks held them to just 34.2 percent. Kansas ranks just 6th in the league in defensive rebounding, but that was a titanic effort against the Bears.
- Wayne Selden made both of his twos, and made 8 of his 9 free throws, which made his 1-4 effort behind the arc much more palatable. Selden also had 4 assists and played pretty good defense.
- Perry Ellis had a nice rebound game, especially considering the opponent, going 7-11 on twos, grabbed 6 rebounds, had a block, and a steal. Ellis grabbed a couple of rebounds over Rico freaking Gathers, and ran through a couple guys, but I hear he's totally soft or something.
- Frank Mason broke his double digit scoring streak and was just 1-3 on twos and was 0-2 on threes. Mason had 8 assists and just two turnovers, however.
- Speaking of bounce back games, Kelly Oubre was 2-3 on twos, 4-6 from three, and grabbed 5 rebounds. Oubre is now Kansas's best defensive rebounder, and the 5th best defensive rebounder in the Big 12.
- Cliff Alexander had one of his poorer games, going 2-5 and grabbing 5 rebounds in 21 minutes. He got pushed around a bit down low by Gathers, but that's obviously going to happen and hopefully he can put that in the memory bank for the tournament.
- Brannen Greene also struggled, going just 1-5 from deep, and is now under 60 percent from three in Big 12 play. What a bum. Worth noting he still leads the league in offensive rating, however.
- Landen Lucas had one of the better 9 point, 4 rebound games you'll see, doing so in 14 minutes. He had a nice assist to Perry Ellis, and other than a rough turnover did a good job helping to dissect the zone. He also was a really good presence defensively on the interior, and pushed Gathers pretty far out on his post ups, which was a refreshing change.
- Devonte Graham didn't get a lot of playing time, but made two free throws, had an assist and no turnovers, and forced a defensive 5 second call at the end of the first half.
- Jamari Traylor wasn't very good, missing his only shot and committing a turnover in just 12 minutes. With how well he broke down the zone in the first matchup, I thought he would have more of an impact in this one, but he just never got position established in the high post. I do wonder if we will see Lucas take some of his minutes going forward, but I still think that Self is going to mostly mix and match down low for the rest of the season.